de·caff irrGardener

irrGardener is a simple Java program which allows to create and print out different kinds of mazes.

Kids usually love solving mazes, so you can create a bunch of them and give them away. It may be run either via Java Web Start or as a standard application. Because I wrote this program to learn more about the new features in Java 1.5 it requires Java 1.5 or newer to run.

I had various request for the sources of this program, so when I decided to overwork this page and the sources to remove all references to the former name of this program I also decided to open its sources, so if you are interested you can download them and try to improve them.

Good luck!

New Name, Same Game

I was asked politely by the author of another (probably much more successful) maze creation program to change the name of my program to avoid confusing his customers. So now my program is called “irrGardener” which is a word not found by Google at the time of this writing (December 19, 2006).

The name derives from German “Irrgarten” which is an old German word for “maze” and is build from two terms:

  • “Garten” which means (as you probably have guessed) “garden” and
  • “irr” which is a shortcut of the verb “verirren” meaning “to get lost” in English

So “Irrgarten” means as much as “a garden where one gets lost”, and just a little step further “irrGardener” means as much as someone who builds a maze, i. e. a “Maze Creator” (the name this humble tool was christened before). Following the link will bring you to the homepage of the original (and now hopefully only) Maze Creator program, and it may be of interest to you that the author also provides a site called where he publishes links to several free maze sites and tools.

You are entitled to use irrGardener any way you like. You are doing that at your own risk. There is no guarantee. If you encounter problems or have suggestions you may drop me a note (click here to write Rammi an email) but don’t expect an answer immediately.

You may even try to improve it on your own.


At the moment the following kinds of mazes are supported:

  • Rectangular maze: a maze with square cells and a rectangular border. These are like the mazes I drawed on squared paper when I was a kid myself.
  • Triangular maze: a maze with triangle cells and a triangle border.
  • Hexagonal maze: a maze with hexagonal cells and a roughly rectangular border.
  • Octogonal maze: a maze with octoggonal and square cells and a roughly rectangular border.
  • Diamond maze: a maze with square cells turned 45 degrees and a roughly rectangular border.
  • Circular maze: a maze with cells which are sections of concentric rings, like the one above. There is the possibility to leave the center open in order to create a “ring maze”

You can tune each kind of maze to contain more or less cells. You can set the start (left mouse button) and end point (right mouse button) of the solution and set the colors for display and printing. There is always one and only one way between two points of the maze: the solution. It’s possible to display this solution.

You can print mazes, and/or save the results in a number of formats:

  • internal format: Useful if you happen to find a nice maze. Saves the maze in some 500 bytes, use File > Save Maze…
  • PNG: PNG is an image format, similar to a screen shot, but the save dialog allows for more options, including saving to a much larger area. Use File > Save as Image…
  • SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics, a vector format supported by many programs allowing to resize the resulting image without quality loss. Use File > Save as SVG…
  • DXF: A widely supported CAD vector format. Use File > Save as DXF…
  • Other formats: Depending on your operation system and installed drivers you may be able to save the maze also as PDF or WMF, if you print it and use the printer dialog to choose to save to file instead of sending it to a printer.


Java Web Start

The preferred way to run this program is via Java Web Start which is included in the Java 1.5 (or later) JRE which you need anyway. Programs run via Java Web Start have two advantages:

  1. You will be automatically informed when there is a new version available. Usually this new version is just downloaded and used instead of the outdated one.
  2. Java Web Start runs the program in a sandbox which means that its means of access to your computer and the internet are restricted to prevent you from harm. This does not always work perfectly, which is one of those Java security risks you are hearing about. But the alternative is to download the program and let it run directly on your computer. Then it runs without any sandbox it could do anything it wants. You’ll just have to trust me.

Small Round MazeClick here to start irrGardener via Java Web Start.

Direct Application

If you don’t like Java Web Start for any reason, you can download the program directly. You will get a file named irrGardener.jar which you may usually run via double-clicking it in your GUI or from a commandline with the simple command

java -jar irrGardener.jar

The main disadvantage is that the program may do anything it likes with your computer. Even if I promise you that the program is not meant to do any harm (which I do, of course), are you sure you may believe any faceless person from the Internet?

Having warned: click here to download irrGardener.jar (some browsers may require right click and “Save link as…” to download correctly).


On a web search I found that there are companies which try to sell you tools for uninstalling irrGardener, which is completely ridiculuous. Don’t pay for that. If you really want to get rid of the 2 or 3 MBytes this simple tool is eating up on your hard drive just follow the instructions in one of the next sections. The correct way depends how you installed irrGardener:

Uninstallation when installed via Java Web Start

Use this way of uninstall when you installed irrGardener via clicking on the small round maze above.

On Windows you can uninstall irrGardener via System Control > Software just like any other program. Just search for the program named irrGardener (or irrGärtner if you are running a German system) and uninstall it.

In general (on Windows as on other operation systems) you can start the Java Control Panel, open the General tab, and click on the Show button in the Temporary Internet Data section. This will display all resources Java downloaded from the internet, go for Applications, search for irrGardener and remove it.

Uninstallation when downloaded as Direct Application

Just remove the file irrGardener.jar from the place where you downloaded it.


Since December 19, 2006 the sources of this program are open and freely available.



UML-enhanced javadoc:


Compiling the sources requires a JDK 1.5 or newer from Sun.

  1. Download the sources archive from above
  2. Create a new directory
  3. Unpack the archive into the directory
  4. Either use the provided ant build file ‘build.xml’ with target jdoc or download the archive containing an UML-enhanced version of the standard javadoc from above and unpack it into the directory, too.
  5. View the package description of the de.caff.maze package in the javadoc documentation as an intro.
  6. Use your usual means to manipulate the source.
  7. Have fun!

Version History

Date Version Info
Sun Dec 11 13:12:01 CET 2016 1.02.01b Fixed broken printing setup.
Thu Jun 7 21:18:16 CEST 2012 1.02.00b Added possiblity to save a maze as DXF and SVG vector graphics, thanks to a request from a user.
Thu Sep 24 19:19:29 CEST 2009 1.01.00b Added possiblity to save a maze as an PNG image, thanks to a request from a user.
Tue Dec 19 19:32:43 CET 2006 1.00.06b Changed program name to irrGardener. First release of sources.