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WHAT - Wolfberg's Helpful Anagramming Tool

WHAT, Wolfberg's Helpful Anagramming Tool, is really a toolbox of integrated powerful tools, with many facilities. An extensive list of its features is available here.

WHAT was announced and demonstrated for the first time at the National Scrabble® Championship 2004 Tournament, held in New Orleans, LA in early August, 2004. It has been in use in the Boston-area Scrabble® clubs since then. This new program is a significant update to Mike's ANA program, in use for over 12 years. As of January 23, 2006, WHAT supports the new OWL2 lexicon (including definitions) which began to be be used for North American competitive Scrabble® starting March 1, 2006. There is also an OSPD4 lexicon as of 3-Mar-06, and it has been updated in July, 2007 to correspond with acceptable words for School Scrabble®. Also made available in July, 2007 is a lexicon for Collins Scrabble® Words (CSW) which is now the authority for World competetions. In April, 2009, support for the FISE lexicon for International Spanish Scrabble® was added. In January, 2010 support for the ODS5 lexicon for International French Scrabble® was added. WHAT includes full support for Spanish which includes dealing with the Spanish-only tiles, three of which have double-letters. For now, the user interface is only in English - French and Spanish languages are in the lexicons only.

There has been support for playing the popular 5 x 5 Word Game in English, and this has been also supported for French. As of January, 2010, there is support in English, French, and Spanish for playing a Word-Building Game which is based on a game called Wordsmith, found on some TIVO DVR sets.

Quick Links

WHAT Availability - Buy it or Get the Free Demo

WHAT is initially available to run on PC computers running MS/Windows®. We expect it will work with most current versions including W95, W98, NT, W2K, and XP, Vista, and Windows 7. We believe it will not work with MS/ Windows® Millennium Edition (ME).

WHAT Version 1.0 was first made available for sale mid-June, 2005. Several updates have been issued since then, with improvements and repairs to the program. One area which got much attention was transitioning from OWL1 to OWL2 lexicons. Version 1.2 is the current version of WHAT and someWHAT (described next). As of October, 2006, these programs have been approved by the NSA for adjudicating challenges at official tournaments.

You can get a free demo form of WHAT, called someWHAT. The main restriction is with the supported lexicons. They lack words which are longer than length 6 and do not have a Q; as of early April, 2006, this includes the new OWL2 words. You can still do useful things with this restricted form of the program, especially if you are studying short words, and you can get a sense of what the fully-functional form of the program is. someWHAT supports challenge adjudications for any of the WHAT lexicons. Visit the someWHAT page to read about the demo form and to download it.

Visit the Purchasing WHAT page to read about purchasing details and to buy the product. The recommended form of product distribution is via downloading on the web, which costs $19.95, discounted to $14.95 when paying by cash/check. This includes free updates for a period of 3 years, including support for any new lexicons. When you purchase WHAT, you are entitled to install the program on up to five different computers in your household or on portable computers associated with you. Distribution on various physical media is available as options for the program's acquisition at additional cost.

WHAT Documentation

WHAT is a program with many features, and so its documentation is important. You can, however, begin to use it for many useful anagramming needs without having to master all of the program's facets. At a minimum, you really should look at the introductory tutorial entitled "WHAT's First - Getting Started Using WHAT" and an even shorter one-page blurb "WHAT Common Queries Reference Sheet"; it can indeed fit on one sheet of paper if you print the MS Word form of this blurb, what_common_queries.doc. See the WHAT Documentation page to find out about all the WHAT documents.

On-line help is lacking and is planned, but there is no current estimate for when you will begin to see this. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, you will need to read some amount of introductory material to make sense of using the program. As time goes on, we hope to adjust some of the user interface to enable faster learning.

WHAT Forum

John Van Pelt's Verbalobe web site is supporting a private WHAT forum for users to correspond. My impression is that you cannot get to this forum until you create a Verbalobe account and John grants you permission. I plan to clarify this as I learn more.

Mike's Credentials

Mike Wolfberg is a highly experienced programmer, with several decades of software development experience. Mike's computer use began in the early 1960's, when he was an undergraduate student at M.I.T. After completing his B.S. degree, Mike continued his formal education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received one of the early Ph.D.'s in Computer Science. Mike has been an expert Scrabble® player since 1980, and he attributes his fast rise to a high level of play to his use of computers, when they were not so prevalent in the game.

WHAT is a relatively large program, designed, developed, and documented by Mike in about 1 1/2 years of hard work. Mike intends to support and extend this program, hoping to be able to devote much attention to this project for the foreseeable future.

WHAT Flyers

Current flyers, produced in January, 2010, can be seen here: front and back. The one-page tutorial on the back uses the OWL2 lexicon.

To communicate with me about WHAT, please send me e-mail at:

back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on April 17, 2011.