The first step to making a new practice mode is deciding what it will test. For this guide, we will be tracing the creation of the Synonym practice mode.
Synonym practice gives the user a list of choices and asks her to identify which is a synonym of the selected word. The choices are in the same language as the prompt word, and there is a set list of them. We provide a set list because our program has no way to decide if an arbitrary word is a synonym of another arbitrary word.
Parley already keeps a list of synonyms in each practice entry and we can just compare a selected answer against that list, so we have no need of special code.
From this, we can identify the following traits:
The first step is deciding if your new mode fits any of the preexisting templates. A mode fits a template if the template's mode of display and user input fit with the needs of the mode.
Out of the available mode templates (below), multiple choice clearly fits synonym practice best, as it allows a closed set of answers, displays the possible answers, and provides the basic question prompt.
If your mode is radically different, and does not fit into any of the templates, it will require a special theme entry and more extra code. Avoid this when possible to keep any current themes valid.
It is suggested that you read the theme requirements page to get an idea for what is involved in a theme.
This template works best for practice modes that have a closed set of possible answers or for those which you want the user to know the available options.
Examples: Generic multiple choice mode, synonym mode
This template works best if the possible set of answers is open or you don't want to supply the user with choices. This is a very flexible mode.
Examples: Generic written mode, paraphrase, example
This mode is like written, but provides an additional hint (the mixed letters portion).
Example: mixed letters mode.
This mode emulates the classic flashcards approach. This mode does no correction and counts on the honesty of the user.
Example: Flash card mode
This mode is designed for comparison only. If you want to use a template of this style, use the conjugation template instead.
Example: Comparison mode
This mode is best if you want up to four written questions (that are hopefully somehow related) asked and corrected at the same time. These modes are more complicated to add, so I suggest avoiding them if possible.
Example: Conjugation mode