I'm testing out a new ajaxy spellchecker January 1, 2006 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm testing out a new ajaxy spellchecker here on MetaTalk for the next couple days. Let me know if you find it better/more useful/buggy. If all goes well, it could be carried over to every textarea on the server.
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 10:17 AM (36 comments total)

well, it recognizes metafilter as a word, which is great. it does not yet recognize google, which is not so great.

conversely, however, if I misspell metafilter (I tried using metafliter), it does not suggest metafilter as the right replacement.

I love the interface for editing misspelled words, though. my one wish would be that you could manually retype misspelled words from within the spell check interface, just because it's annoying to click resume editing, fix it, click check spelling for the next misspelled word, etc... There's no need, obviously, to allow editing the entire comment within the spellcheck interface, but just the misspelled words would be nice. Maybe a selection in the drop down box of suggested words that says "manual edit..." or something.
posted by shmegegge at 10:25 AM on January 1, 2006


Doesn't seem to work in Safari. (latest version)
posted by seanyboy at 10:58 AM on January 1, 2006


why does it need the "resume editing" link if there are no errors? it might be smoother if it simply let you resume editing once done (you could clear the "no errors" message as soon as more text is added, perhaps).

seems to work fine in ff1.5 on win2k, although the font size changes during use.

props to the author
posted by andrew cooke at 11:06 AM on January 1, 2006


Strange - There is a difference between what you've set up and the link from andrew cooke. The author's test text box works just fine.

Mind, in Safari, I can just switch on spell checking anyway by pressing Apple-; or using the edit menu item. (woo - i just discovered something new)
posted by seanyboy at 11:26 AM on January 1, 2006


I think it would be cool if we could type and spell check at the same time, although the way it is now is pretty impressive.
posted by delmoi at 11:30 AM on January 1, 2006


i think that's 2.6 and matt's using 2.5?
posted by andrew cooke at 11:30 AM on January 1, 2006


Obviously there are going to be some font differences, because the text boxes are actually window controls drawn by the browser, rather then CSS controlled pages like everything else. Each browser gets to display text in a textbox however they like.

I wonder how hard it would actualy be to write a true a text editor in DHTML.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 AM on January 1, 2006


why can't you configure it so that (the same) css applies to "actual window controls drawn by the browser"? you can access stylesheet info via the dom.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:36 AM on January 1, 2006


All seven of Carlin's words made it in.

"quonsar," however, was not recognized. 7/8. I say we keep it.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:42 AM on January 1, 2006


does it matter that it doesn't work in safari?

right-click the textarea, select 'Spelling->Check spelling as you type'. now the system spellchecker will kick in for all textarea fields.
posted by jimw at 12:17 PM on January 1, 2006


Pretty cool.
posted by mmahaffie at 12:41 PM on January 1, 2006


It's actually null terminated that set it up on his server, using the broken-notebook guy's code. If it works out, maybe null will provide this to bloggers everywhere as a service.

I couldn't get aspell to work on the windows webserver here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2006


WFM (although I'll still use SpellBound).
posted by sjvilla79 at 1:51 PM on January 1, 2006


I agree that if there aren't any misspellings, you shouldn't have to click the "Resume Editing" link. Otherwise, it works for me (Galeon 2.0.0 on Firefox 1.0.7 on Slackware 10.2).
posted by Godbert at 2:22 PM on January 1, 2006


It's not really A and it doesn't use X. Yay for buzzwords.

Also, it's useless in Safari.
posted by cillit bang at 2:51 PM on January 1, 2006


I had no idea that mispelling was such a problem that it had become the priority issue around here.

Ah, well, perhaps the illiterates out there have something interesting to say.

Could we get some sort of Ajaxy hand-holding that would actually write posts for us, so we don't have to make any effort whatsoever? That'd be too cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:26 PM on January 1, 2006


I also wonder how completely all this Ajaxy goodness sucks donkey dicks when one is stuck on a slow dial-up connection.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:27 PM on January 1, 2006


Finally, I'm ill and grumpy, so you should feel free -- nay, obligated! -- to ignore my snarking.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:27 PM on January 1, 2006


It's not really A and it doesn't use X. Yay for buzzwords.

Yeah, the proper term is "DHTML".
posted by delmoi at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2006


separate?yes! hurray! it corrected one of the most commonly misspelled words in MeFi land. Also found no misspelling, so it recognizes MeFi.
posted by Cranberry at 3:37 PM on January 1, 2006


Well, if it doesn't work in safari (and it doesn't), I would probably remove the link. Awfully misleading.

(That tip about enabling the spelling as you type was very good though. Thanks.)
posted by smackfu at 3:38 PM on January 1, 2006


Hey guys,

I'm working on the Safari issue and will make it go back to editing automatically if no misspellings are found.
posted by null terminated at 3:45 PM on January 1, 2006


ajaxy, huh?


posted by quonsar at 3:55 PM on January 1, 2006


It's not really A and it doesn't use X. Yay for buzzwords.

I hate the overuse of the term ajax as much as the next nerd (people think anything with javascript must be ajax), but this is actually loading data from another server, without page reloads. I'd say that meets the basic criteria for ajax.

Anyway, mostly what I'm asking about here is if you think this is more useful than the current slow-ass java popup spellchecker. Personally, I love the new inline spelling, and it's at least as accurate as the crappy slow java one. The lack of a popup is nice too.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:13 PM on January 1, 2006


The spell checker now doesn't leave the editing field if no misspellings are found.

Still working on Safari issues. I apologize for that.

Also, the script is different from Andrew Cooke's link. I took the script and ripped out the guts for my purposes. So if something doesn't work, it's most likely my problem, not the original author's.
posted by null terminated at 4:29 PM on January 1, 2006


I'm noticing that the textarea boxes for message entry are becoming buggery slow. I can outtype the screen now, which is something I haven't experienced in likely more than a decade.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:07 PM on January 1, 2006


five fresh fish: What OS & browser are you using? This script could make the page load more slowly (if my server is unavailable, for example), but it should not affect the speed at which characters are entered in the textbox.

Is this happening in all textboxes or only metatalk ones?
posted by null terminated at 7:36 PM on January 1, 2006


OS X, Opera, all text boxes. I was on battery power; perhaps that was a problem. Although even when plugged in, as I am now, text entry seems a little churlish.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:56 PM on January 1, 2006


The spell checker is only on Metatalk, so I don't think it's the problem if you're having the issue in the other sites (the main Mefi site and Ask).
posted by null terminated at 8:10 PM on January 1, 2006


I'm testing out the spell checker. It seems nice, I think. But maybe not since I haven't tested it out yet. I suppose I should misspell something to really test it out. Damn I'm a fine typist. Well that was quite swell. In fact, I approve. Best damn spell checker ever.
posted by panoptican at 9:01 PM on January 1, 2006


The fix for no misspellings is a big improvement. It is also critical for the checker to have a text entry option when the suggestion list doesn't offer a good choice.

Here is a suggestion for functionality that would be much more useful, I think.
  • The checker would work as it does now on the initial pass.
  • The user would start selecting underlined words and taking action as follows:
    1. Ignore - a new choice needed, it would just make the word green-underlined
    2. Replace with suggestion - the current functionality
    3. Replace with manually typed correction - a new choice needed, might be a pop-up?
  • On replace with manual correction the checker would have to check again, and red-underline or green-underline appropriately.
  • Once there are no more red-underlined words (the user has corrected or ignored every flagged word) the checker would revert to the edit box (may not be desirable with the green-underline feature, I'll come back to this at the end).
I don't think there would be any need to remember ignored words, although it would be interesting to do something with that information - great data to mine for improvements to the stock dictionary for example.

Is the green-underline a critical feature? I'm not sure, I can see how it might be useful...

Anyway, one final note, the spell checker just added a bunch of carriage returns that I had to manually remove. It is automatically adding carriage returns at some relatively narrow width, like 40 characters or so...
posted by Chuckles at 2:15 AM on January 2, 2006


Okay, I wonder how the carriage return problem is actually working, lets see if it messes up this sentence.

Nope, that one seems to have worked... Let's see if it has something to do with my fancy html:
  • damn those lists I use are cool, bullets are a miracle
  • Actually, I sometimes hate them, but people seem to think they are modern or something
  • A the joys of technical communication...
Okay, that is the problem... Hard carriage returns are added at the soft carriage return points from the text entry window whenever html tags are in a line. I assume the spell checker code is the culprit.
posted by Chuckles at 2:24 AM on January 2, 2006


Chuckles: I'll see how feasible the inline editing is.

With the carriage return issue, can you tell me your browser, browser version and OS.
posted by null terminated at 2:29 AM on January 2, 2006


null terminated: can you tell me your browser, browser version and OS

Ya, I guess I should have included that... Firefox 1.0.7 with no extensions and XP SP2.
posted by Chuckles at 2:38 AM on January 2, 2006


Repeated text yields some strange bugs for me.

In firefox:
asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf
asdf

In IE:
asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf
asdf

Not that it seems to be triggerable with anything resembling normal text, but just fyi.
posted by moift at 12:07 AM on January 3, 2006


moift: This is a known bug that I'm working on, but thanks!

It only happens with the exact same word is misspelled twice in a row with exactly one character between the two words.
posted by null terminated at 1:27 AM on January 3, 2006


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