Open Spelling Bee

A free open source re-creation of the Spelling Bee word game for the web.

The rules of Spelling Bee are relatively simple: you get a set of 7 letters, including one which is considered the “center letter”. Using these 7 letters, you must compose as many words as you can which contain the center letter and are at least 4 letters long.

My partner and I love playing Spelling Bee together, but we wanted to stop supporting the New York Times due to their support of anti-transgender coverage, among various other issues. So, I decided to build my own version of the game so we could continue to play it together.

The site is a Progressive Web App built with 11ty and Alpine.js.

It was a ton of fun to make! One of the most interesting challenges was simply generating the letter set data. I had to write a script which takes a fairly-comprehensive list of all English words and generates a JSON file which includes every possible combination of 7 unique letters which will produce at least one panagram (a word which uses all 7 letters) as well as a reasonable number of other words. I initially wrote the script in JavaScript but then ended up converting it to Go in an effort to improve performance. After a little work, the whole thing runs in less than 1 second!

The bee icon used for this project was created by Freepik - Flaticon