Palapeli: On the way to “social puzzling”
October 11, 2009
Because people always ask when I forget to make it clear: Palapeli is a jigsaw puzzle game which I’m preparing for KDE 4.4. Now that we have that out of the way:
Today, I’ve spent hours to break Palapeli, put the pieces together again (puzzle pun intended), and take care that it does the same things as before. Such activities appear quite senseless to outsiders, but programmers know that this is necessary from time to time.
They call it “refactoring”.
Of course, I have a bigger aim. Currently, the only source of puzzles is the local library, but I want to make more sources accessible. “Within the reach of your fingertips”, like some people describe it. For this initiative, I’ve chosen the buzzword “social puzzling”. Actually, what I want to do, is quite similar to KNewStuff, but I’m not completely sure whether KNewStuff provides all the technical foundation that I need. (If it is the case, the current architecture of Palapeli allows to add KNewStuff integration later on.)
My plan: The current puzzle library is basically a list of puzzles (or, more detailed, a list of URLs to puzzle files and a metadata cache). A list of puzzles could be provided anywhere, also on remote sites, as a type of “puzzle feed” (similar to a RSS feed). Such puzzle feeds can already be read by the Palapeli::ListCollection class, but there is no interface yet to display and use them. This is because I’m not sure about the best way to present them to the user.
So what is certain by now? Palapeli 1.0 will ship with puzzle feed functionality, though it will be hidden a bit. It’s not sure how puzzle feeds will be generated on the server side. And it’s not clear yet for what we’ll be able to use this functionality at the end of the day. It’s a big experiment, and I’m quite excited about it.