I found an interesting little program that creates Sudoku puzzles in Visual Basic .NET. I have to say that I really love it. But not for the reasons one might expect. I don't love it for the amount of cool features it has. Frankly it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a lot of Sudoku programs I have seen do have. That is, paradoxically, why I love it. If you are looking for something fun to play with, uh, I mean work with and learn from, over the holiday break this may be just the thing.
Let me explain. One of the great learning experiences one can have is taking an existing and functional program and adding features to it. Now while I agree with my college professor who told me over 30 years ago that no program is ever really finished it's nice to have some low hanging fruit. This program has room for all sorts of additional features. What sort of features?
- Adding color coding of rows, columns or subgrids that are completed.
- Additional error checking
- A timer - how long does it take you to finish?
- Top times recording - ideally at each level
- Replace the command buttons with textboxes for easier input
- Tablet PC input with ink!
- Make a Pocket PC version. IF you do that let me know so I can get a copy from you.
- Probably a lot more that I haven't even had time to think about.
You will be able to work on this program using Visual Basic .NET Express. It was written for Visual Basic 2003 but Express upgraded it nicely for me without any errors. A couple of warnings that we easily fixed because I hate warnings.
Send your students after this one. Try it out yourself. Is it the greatest implementation of Sudoku ever? No it's not. But what it is is an easy to understand, very manageable piece of code that lends itself to extension, expansion, improvement, experimentation and just plain fun. And are those all really good things for over the holidays?
Speaking of holidays - I'm taking next week off. It's time to spend Christmas with my family. Will I be blogging? Probably not very much if at all. I hope you are all getting some time off for the end of the year and enjoy what ever holiday you celebrate.