One of the simplest methods of ensuring that your published words don't end up looking functionally illiterate is to use a spell checker. But what if you're in need of a bit more help?
You could pay an editor or make an agreement with a friend to edit each other's work. But you may not be able to afford an editor, or may not have any friends you wish to trust in this way, or may not have any friends, period. Sniff.
Now here's the good news. WordPress (news, site) users gained access to a built-in personal editor in September, thanks to Automattic's (news, site) release of the SaaS-based spell checker called After the Deadline.
After the Deadline was already available for free to WordPress users. Now, Automattic -- a company name that all but begs for a spell checker -- has taken this spelling, grammar and style-checking tool, and released it under the GPL as open source. There are a number of client libraries for interfacing with the tool:
- jQuery API (MIT/LGPL)
- Python Library by Miguel Ventura (MIT License)
- Ruby Library by Danny Tatom (MIT License)
- TinyMCE Plugin (LGPL)
Whether or not you trust such tools, they can be an interesting way to catch awkward portions of your writing, and at the very least make you think about the phrases they highlight. Try out the demo and consider whether such a tool would enhance your open source content management system. The source code is available here.
(And yes, we fed this article through the demo. It had a couple of reasonable complaints, one that made no sense, missed some items we had expected it to mark, and didn't completely choke on the URLs.)