Writing software – Form and function of a spell checker


A spell checker is a computer program capable of checking spelling, punctuation and style errors. Found errors or omissions are marked in a special way – typically by underlining.

In some cases, in addition to specifying the location of the possible errors, the user is given the opportunity to choose one of the correct spellings, or a dialogue box explaining how to fix the text pops up.

Spell check can be incorporated as a separate function in a software system, such as a word processor, email client, electronic dictionary, web browser or search engine.

It can also be executed as an independent program. In this case, it typically has the ability to integrate with other applications. For example, the GNU Aspell for Unix-like operating systems, as well as cross-platform Hunspell.

First spell check system became available in the mainframe in the late 1970s. On a desktop system CP / M and TRS-80, it appeared in 1980, then in 1981 there were the first packages for IBM PC.

Maria Mariani, Soft-Art, Microlytics, Proximity, Circle Noetics, and Reference Software quickly released OEM packs or finished products on the rapidly growing market, especially for the PC, though there had been proposals for the Apple Macintosh, VAX , and Unix.

On a PC, the spell checker systems were independent programs, many of which could run as a TSR from the inside of the package with the text (on computers with enough memory).

However, the market for stand-alone spell checker packages did not last long, as the developers of popular word processing programs (such as WordStar and WordPerfect).

In the mid-1980s included a spell check system in their packages, mostly licensed from the aforementioned companies that are rapidly deployed in support for European languages, and ultimately Asian.

But it’s complicated the development of spelling, especially with regard to the agglutinative languages such as Hungarian or Finnish.

Although the market for programs for working with text in countries like Iceland may not recoup investments, companies like WordPerfect, however, sought to take their products to new markets.

Recently, spell checker systems shifted from word processors to web browsers, such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Konqueror, Opera, Kmail mail client and instant messaging client Pidgin also to offer support for spell checking, using GNU Aspell as their mechanism. Mac OS X spell check in virtually all applications.

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