Formatting puzzles to print and share

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Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby keith » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:12 am

(If you don't want the background, please skip to the next post.)

As many of you know, I have been a member and an administrator of the Daily Sudoku (DS) site for about ten years now. I have recently become very disenchanted by the indifference of the site owner to that site's Discussion Board. I fear the discussion board or the entire may simply disappear, as has happened with a number of Sudoku sites. In fact, Dan (ArkieTech) started posting his puzzles here because DS went down without explanation for a number of weeks.

But, DS has proved to be durable, and the site has a loyal following. I do fear that it may just disappear, and have been trying to figure out the use cases that people find most beneficial. To that end, I have enlisted Helmut (Nataraj), Marty, and Jason.

One feature of DS that people value is Draw/Play (DP). It does three important things that I can see:

1. It is an online solver that provides hints to do the basics plus X, XY, and XYZ wings.
2. It prints puzzles on a half page in a pleasing format.
3. It generates bbcode text that can be pasted into a discussion board message that makes it very simple for others to open and solve or print puzzles in Draw/Play. Dan uses this feature with every puzzle he posts.

What would we do if DS disappears?

Well, Nataraj (now known to be Helmut) created a formatter to post puzzles to DP. He has also created his own site, that has a "Sudoku Helper" that offers tips but is not really a solver. It follows the philosophy of "teach a man to fish". Helmut has now enabled my imagined use cases in his formatter

http://sudoku.saueregger.at/HSF.htm

EDIT: The correct (new) link is http://sudoku.saueregger.at/HSH/HSF.htm

and in his Sudoku Helper

www.saueregger.at/sudoku/HSH/HSH.htm?p=*EN*1618305244*1*2015-10-21*970010020208600400000500003700000080045000790030000004600003000004001907080070051*

His site is here, and it has very interesting Daily Puzzles of various levels:

http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/

In my next post, I will show how all this works.

Keith
Last edited by keith on Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby enxio27 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:20 pm

Following with interest. . .

While I have your attention, I visited the site, and I have a question. What is "compass" sudoku? I didn't find any explanation of how it works.
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re: HSF

Postby Pat » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:45 pm

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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby Nataraj » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:04 pm

keith wrote:...
Helmut has now enabled my imagined use cases in his formatter

http://sudoku.saueregger.at/HSF.htm

....

In my next post, I will show how all this works.

Keith


After Beta testing I moved the new version to the original site, which is a subdirectory of sudoku.saueregger.at

The correct link is http://sudoku.saueregger.at/HSH/HSF.htm

Sorry for the mix-up, I did not want to disturb current users with a new version while it was not yet ready to be released.

Helmut
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby keith » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:59 pm

A few years ago, we did some reverse engineering.

The Sudoku Susser has a very cool capability to accept pasted puzzles, text and images, from other sites. (Most of those sites are now gone.)

Then, the Daily Sudoku (DS) site began to offer an ASCII option which generated bbtext like this:

Code: Select all
+-------+-------+-------+
| . . . | . . . | . . 4 |
| 8 7 . | . . 3 | . . . |
| 1 . . | 7 . 9 | . . . |
+-------+-------+-------+
| . 1 . | 4 2 . | 8 . . |
| 5 . 8 | . . . | 6 . 1 |
| . . 9 | . 1 8 | . 4 . |
+-------+-------+-------+
| . . . | 3 . 5 | . . 9 |
| . . . | 6 . . | . 5 7 |
| 3 . . | . . . | . . . |
+-------+-------+-------+

Play this puzzle online at the Daily Sudoku site

But, it only worked for DS Puzzles. So, I asked Nataraj (Helmut Saueregger) if he could make a Sudoku Formatter that would take puzzles from different sources and put them into DS Draw/Play for solving or printing. Helmut did that, and at least Marty and I are eternally grateful.

Fast forward a few years, and DS appears to be on its last legs. I fear it, especially the discussion forum, may disappear at any time. So, Jason Lion has this discussion forum, and Helmut has his Sudok-o-Rama site with its own Sudoku Helper. In case DS does disappear, I asked Helmut to extend his formatter to import, print and solve puzzles on his own site, and this is now done. The intent is not to compete against DS, it is an insurance policy.

We now have a request to import Helmut's Sudok-o-Rama Squiggly puzzles into DS Draw/Solve. I cannot reverse engineer this. In Draw/Solve there is no ASCII export function for Squigglies, so there is no import function. It cannot be done without the collaboration of the DS site owner, and he has been AWOL for over a decade.

If you want to solve Helmut's Squigglies, I suggest you use his Sudoku Helper. It's easy to learn, and Helmut is very receptive to making his puzzles more interesting and fun to solve.

Keith
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby keith » Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:52 pm

Helmut,

I believe you said you wanted feedback in the forum, not by personal e-mail, so here goes.

I like to print four puzzles on a sheet by fipping it top to bottom and back to front, and feeding it through the printer four times. I print on USA "letter" paper which is 8.5 by 11 inches. A little wider than A4, but not as tall.

If any of the following is not clear, let me know. I can scan and send you the printed pages.

I go to the Home page: http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/

and use the right arrow to get "Advanced". Is there any difference between the British and USA flags?

Now I click on the print icon.

I get a PDF-like page with a "Print" button. The copyright says 2014. There is a button to play the puzzle at DailySudoku using Draw/Play, which I think is very gracious of you. When I click "Print" I get my usual (Windows 10) print dialog and can print the page. Fine, it fits in the top half of the page, although there is a footer.

Now, I am back at the main page. I click on the icon with "+" at the top right. I am at HSH V3.3. I click on "Format" and "Do It!" and I get a new page with available BBCode:

http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/HSH/HSF ... :0:3:0:0:*

Code: Select all
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  .  5  |  .  8  .  |  .  .  6  |
|  .  .  .  |  .  .  2  |  .  .  9  |
|  .  .  .  |  3  .  .  |  4  8  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  .  9  |  8  6  .  |  .  .  .  |
|  6  .  2  |  .  .  .  |  7  .  8  |
|  .  .  .  |  .  7  9  |  6  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  7  8  |  .  .  1  |  .  .  .  |
|  2  .  .  |  9  .  .  |  .  .  .  |
|  4  .  .  |  .  5  .  |  3  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+


Print (PDF) using Helmut's Sudoku Formatter

Now, if I click "Do It!" (again) I get a real PDF page with an icon to open the print dialog.

The printed puzzle is smaller than before, and the page does not have a header or footer. I prefer this format.

If I go back to the Helper I can right click on the puzzle and select "Print". I get a different format, that is bigger than half a page.

http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/HSH/HSH ... 400050300*

If I go to the formatter and right click on the puzzle to print, I get a similar (but not the same) result.

http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/HSH/HSF ... :0:3:0:0:*

So,

I have found four ways to print, and none of them gives the same result.

Keith
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby Nataraj » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:13 pm

Keith,

I am sure most of the weird behaviour you experience is due to old versions of the software in the browser cache.
Hit the reload icon (a couple of times, if needed) and all should be well.

Current versions' correct behaviour:

Sudok-o_rama: Printer icon displays pdf with Copyright 2015 (html page with print and dailysudoku buttons should NOT appear)
Sudoku Helper: PRINT is lo longer an available action. FORMAT (which takes you to the Formatter) is currently the only action for printing and formatting
Formatter: Print is via .pdf, should give a half page print (upper half) and leave the lower half empty.

As of last week (Nov. 3 or 4?) printing from all applications should go through one single .php routine on the server: HSpdf.php
Check the address line to verify it is HSPdf.php that is called (All the old HSoRPrint and its clones are obsolete). Reload if necessary.
Sorry for the inconvenience. The .php on the server should always be current, the pages on the clients' browser screens are outside of my reach, (which is good but sometimes I wish I could force that reload)

Hope this helps to get the intended better experience out of the Rama/Helper/Formatter combo!

Helmut

P.S. the links to HSH and HSF need a .htm at the end ... otherwise error 404 not found
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re: long URLs

Postby Pat » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:43 am

    long URLs are displayed in a shortened form (with "...")

    this works fine as long as the post is not edited

    as soon as one edits such a post,
    the original URL is lost

    a mystery of phpBB

    the workaround is:
    always explicitly use [url=] etc
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby keith » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:16 pm

OK,

So here's how it all works. Many thanks to Helmut (Nataraj) for making some requested changes, and more.

Helmut's Sudok-o-Rama is here: http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/

The left and right arrows (difficult to see on some backgrounds) scroll between daily puzzles of varying difficulty and type. The print icon will print the displayed puzzle in a pleasing format, and the "first aid" icon on the top right will take you to Helmut's Sudoku Helper (HSH), which is not really a solver, but a very interesting "teach a man to fish" kind of tool.

Also available is Helmut's Sudoku Formatter, which is a really cool tool to import, format, print, and share puzzles.

Here is Dan's daily puzzle for today (13 Nov 2015):

Code: Select all
 *-----------*
 |.38|...|...|
 |.5.|..2|9.7|
 |...|.1.|...|
 |---+---+---|
 |...|2.4|.8.|
 |.17|...|...|
 |...|.3.|.26|
 |---+---+---|
 |8..|6..|.95|
 |..9|...|4..|
 |.2.|8..|...|
 *-----------*

Copy the puzzle, and go to HSF: http://www.saueregger.at/sudoku/HSH/HSF.htm
Paste it in the dialog box, and click "Do it !".

There are clear instructions on how to print, or to take the puzzle into the Helper, HSH.

Also displayed is text that you can post in a discussion board, like this:
Code: Select all
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  3  8  |  .  .  .  |  .  .  .  |
|  .  5  .  |  .  .  2  |  9  .  7  |
|  .  .  .  |  .  1  .  |  .  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  .  .  |  2  .  4  |  .  8  .  |
|  .  1  7  |  .  .  .  |  .  .  .  |
|  .  .  .  |  .  3  .  |  .  2  6  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  8  .  .  |  6  .  .  |  .  9  5  |
|  .  .  9  |  .  .  .  |  4  .  .  |
|  .  2  .  |  8  .  .  |  .  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+

Print (PDF) using Helmut's Sudoku Formatter

You can even send the puzzle to the Daily Sudoku Draw/Play tool.

If you go to the Helper, HSH, there is a very cool feature, "Automate Basics". If you then "Do it !" and then "Format" (go back to HSF) you will have new bbcode text to cut and paste, like this:

Code: Select all
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  3  8  |  .  .  .  |  .  .  2  |
|  .  5  .  |  .  8  2  |  9  .  7  |
|  .  .  2  |  .  1  .  |  8  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  .  .  .  |  2  .  4  |  .  8  .  |
|  2  1  7  |  .  6  8  |  .  .  .  |
|  .  8  .  |  .  3  .  |  .  2  6  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|  8  .  .  |  6  .  .  |  2  9  5  |
|  .  .  9  |  .  2  .  |  4  .  8  |
|  .  2  .  |  8  .  .  |  .  .  .  |
+-----------+-----------+-----------+

+--------------------------+--------------------------+--------------------------+
| 14679   3       8        | 4579    579     5679     | 156     1456    2        |
| 146     5       146      | 34      8       2        | 9       1346    7        |
| 4679    4679    2        | 34579   1       35679    | 8       3456    34       |
+--------------------------+--------------------------+--------------------------+
| 3569    69      356      | 2       579     4        | 157     8       19       |
| 2       1       7        | 59      6       8        | 35      345     349      |
| 459     8       45       | 1579    3       1579     | 57      2       6        |
+--------------------------+--------------------------+--------------------------+
| 8       47      13       | 6       47      13       | 2       9       5        |
| 13567   67      9        | 1357    2       1357     | 4       1367    8        |
| 134567  2       13456    | 8       4579    13579    | 136     1367    13       |
+--------------------------+--------------------------+--------------------------+


Print (PDF) using Helmut's Sudoku Formatter

In other words, you have the original grid and the "After Basics" grid, ready to go. Now, you can more easily post your own inspired solution!

Keith
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Re: Formatting puzzles to print and share

Postby keith » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:59 am

For those of you who are able to program or write scripts, the following link should be a sufficient example for you to drop your own puzzle into Helmut's Sudok-o-Rama:
Code: Select all
http://sudoku.saueregger.at/HSH/HSF.htm?p=*EN*HSF11:52:48%20AM*6*11/13/2015*0:3:8:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:5:0:0:0:2:9:0:7:0:0:0:0:1:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:2:0:4:0:8:0:0:1:7:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:3:0:0:2:6:8:0:0:6:0:0:0:9:5:0:0:9:0:0:0:4:0:0:0:2:0:8:0:0:0:0:0:*

("Quote" this message to see the full string.)
Keith
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