[whatwg] Spellchecking mark III

timeless timeless at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 08:22:56 PST 2009

On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 4:51 PM, Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c at gmail.com> wrote:
> In practice, I think the only way to avoid this problem is for
> browsers to implement content-sniffing techniques of some kind to
> figure out the language, at least per field but ideally on a
> word-by-word basis.  If the browser is set to spellcheck in English
> but you start putting in lots of non-Latin characters and every word
> is therefore misspelled, the browser should be clever enough to try
> switching the spellcheck language, or at least disabling spellcheck
> for words that can't possibly be from the language it's checking
> against.  More refined heuristics could detect even subtle
> differences, like between British and American English, and remember
> for next time which one the user usually types in.

this is approximately what I'm hoping to see implemented for Firefox.
I haven't worked on the spell checking code recently, but it's what I
feel is necessary having worked in an organization where the default
language and the used language don't match. The result is everyone
either ignores or turns off spell checking. I'm hoping to either find
someone to implement this, or implement it myself. Either way, with
this implemented, my employer would eventually update my coworkers'
browsers to such a Firefox, and then I can hope they will get more
useful feedback and actually pay attention to their typing.

-Yes, I'm aware that this is a pipe dream. I need this dream.

> None of this needs, or even could effectively use, author intervention:
> 1) The author cannot know what languages users will want to enter in
> all cases.  I've sometimes found myself writing posts in Hebrew on
> English-only sites, for instance.
> 2) The author certainly won't be able to determine the dialect or
> variant of the language the user will want to use, which is necessary
> for spellcheck.
> 3) Authors should not have to add extra markup if it's not really
> necessary, because in practice, most won't.  To be as useful as
> possible, spellcheck should Just Work without explicit author
> intervention.

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