Tag: wordle

Python Tutorial: Classes

Python, as any other scripting language allows you to define variables and functions. These are very basic entities when it comes to programming. However, sometimes it is useful to keep variables and functions that are related to one-another close together. This is the main idea behind Object Oriented programming and is present in programming languages such as C++ and fortran, but also in scripting languages like java and python. In this tutorial, you can find a first brief introduction into this topic, focusing on the concept of a class. 

This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials and the code is available via GitHub. As a real life example, used throughout this series, we consider a class for solving a wordle-puzzle.

1. The Python class

A class is a complex variable type, which contains specific methods (or functions) and attributes (or properties). An instance of such a complex variable is called an object, and different objects can have different values for their attributes (and even methods).

To create a class in python the class keyword is used followed by the name you want to assign your class. In our case this is the WordleAssistant class.

class WordleAssistant():

Defining attributes

This WordleAssistant contains the attributes relevant to our puzzle solver. For example, if we want to make a generic solver, two useful attributes would be the wordle word length (WordleSize) and a dictionary of possible words (FullWordset). Unlike fortran or C++, attributes are not defined in the class definition, but can be dynamically created for a class-object. This a feature (or design flaw) gives rise to some dangerous practices such as the runtime (accidental) addition of attributes to an object. For good practices, one should refrain from this and create all attributes by initializing them during the initialization of the class instance. This is done using the __init__() method of the class:

class WordleAssistant():
    def __init__(self, size: int = 5, dictionary: str = None):
        self.WordleSize = size
        if dictionary is None:
            dictionary = "Mydict.txt"
        self.FullWordset = self.readDictionary(dictionary)

Here the WordleSize attribute is defined by setting it to the size parameter of the __init__ method, while the FullWordset attribute is defined by assigning it the result of the readDictionary method of the WordleAssistant class. As is common (and good) practice in OO langues we use the self variable to indicate the instance of the class, binding attributes and methods to the instance. You may also have noted python uses a dot-notation to indicate attributes/methods of a class, similar as C++ (while fortran uses the % symbol with the same effect).

!! NOTE: There also exist “class attributes” which are defined the way one would define instance attributes in fortran or C++. However, in python these attributes are shared by all instances of the class, as such changing them in one object will change them in all objects, creating a mess.

Defining methods

In the previous section, we already defined a first method, the initialization method. As a method is a function, it is constructed as any other function in python using the def keyword, with the body indented. The method itself is indented one level with respect to the class level. Similar as for a usual function, one can indicate the expected type and default value for each function parameter, and if a result is returned the type can be indicated as well, as can be seen in the example below for the readDictionary method.

class WordleAssistant():
    def __init__(self, size: int = 5, dictionary: str = None):

    def readDictionary(self, wordlist: str = None)->list:
        return wordlist 


Although private attributes and methods don’t technically exist in Python, it is convention that attributes and methods prefixed with a single underscore are to be treated as non-public parts of the API. In addition, using two or more underscores gives rise to name mangling, which gives a practical behavior akin to making attributes and methods private. The __init__ method above is an example. We will come back to this when discussing inheritance and child classes.

2. The Python Object

Once the class is implemented, it can be used in a script by creating instances of the class. These instances are called Objects.

WA = WordleAssistant()

The above command creates an object WA which is of the class WordleAssistant. The object is initialized through a call to the __init__ method, which is performed by the assignment above. If defaults are provided for all parameters of the __init__ method, then no variables need to be passed to the WordleAssistant class call. Otherwise the creation of an instance could look like this:

wordleSize = 5
WA = WordleAssistant(size=wordleSize,dictionary='MyWords.txt')

Access to the attributes and methods of the WA object s gained using the dot-notation:

wordsize = WA.WordleSize 
wordlist = WA.FullWordset
Top10Guess = WA.getTop(top = 10)

Within the context of data-encapsulation one should never access attributes directly but use get and set methods instead.

3. Additional sources:

Wordle-mania: an opportunity for python programming and artificial intelligence.

Over that last few months the wordle game has become increasingly popular, with people sharing their daily feats on Twitter. Currently the game is hosted by the NY times which bought it the end of January 2022 from its creator.  The game is rather straightforward: you have 6 guesses to find a 5-letter English word. Every guess, the game tells you if a letter is (1) not in the word [grey], (2) in the word at a different position [yellow/orange], or (3) in the word at the exact same position [green].

Wordle 242 4/6
An example of the result (as it looks when shared on Twitter). My first guess was the word “PIANO”, which means the A is in the word but at a different position. My second word, “QUERY”, adds the U to the list of letters that are present. With my third guess, “STUCK”, the position of the U and the K are fixed and we now also know the letter C is involved. At this point, I was also stuck, so I got some help of my wordle-assistant program, which taught me there could only be 1 word matching all the information we had: “CAULK“.

This seamlessly brings me to the central topic of this post: writing a program to help win this game as efficiently as possible. Not terribly original, but it’s a means to an end, as this simple project allows us to explore some more advanced topics in programming in python as well as artificial intelligence.

During this exploration I’ll  be including and updating a set of tutorials as well as this post. The python side of the project will focus on efficiency and easy of use and distribution, while the AI side will focus on smart ways predicting the best possible next guess. For the latter, an important caveat is that this means that the program should also work if you’re the last player living on earth, or if you decide to play wordle in a different language or a different number of letters. This means that creating a distribution of the  tweeted results of other players and comparing this with the complete set of brute-forced distributions to guess the wordle of the day in a single guess, would not satisfy my definition of AI. It is an interesting Big-data kaggle competition though.

Python Tutorials

  • Classes in Python. This tutorial provides a simple introduction in the concept of classes in python.
  • Child Classes. Continuing on the previous we deal now with child classes and the intricacies of function overriding and accessibility.
  • Python Library on Github.
  • Jupyter Notebook examples.
  • Slow Python: Profiling python in Jupyter. We look into profiling a Jupyter notebook script, to find the bottlenecks.
  • Slow Python: speeding up copying.


Artificial Intelligence

  • Distributions of words and letters.
  • Information theory of wordle?


The WordleAssistant Library and notebooks.

All tutorial code and jupyter notebooks can be found in this github repository.