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Spell Checker

The Spelling Checker plug-in for WordPress provides a built-in facility for spelling checks on posts from within the administration pages as well as

How do I use it?

On the "Write Post" page there should be a new button called "Check Spelling". Click it. You will get a new window that performs the spelling checking. Note that you must have Javascript enabled for this to work. You must also have the "aspell" executable on your hosting machine for this to work as that is the spelling service provider used.

How do I enable people to spell check their comments?

Adding the ability for your readers to check the spelling of their comment text has never been easier, though it may reduce your enjoyment of their inadvertently incorrect spellings. Simply modify your comments template to call the following function somewhere within it (this inserts the necessary Javascript for opening the spelling checker window):

'spell_insert_headers();'

For default WordPress installations, you need no parameters. If for whatever reason your textarea is a different id than the default "comment" id, you can specify that id as a parameter to this call, for example:

'spell_insert_headers("differentcommentid");'

Now, the only thing left to do is insert the following code where you want the "Check Spelling" button to appear:

'spell_insert_comment_button();'

For more flexibility you can specify the following parameters to this function:

  • $button_class - If so desired, you can apply a class specifier to the resulting button. Leaving this as the default causes no class to be specified. For instance, to specify a class of "buttonclass", simply specify "buttonclass" as the first parameter to the function.
  • $tabindex - To enhance usability, you can specify a tabindex to include in the button declaration. If undeclared, no tabindex is specified. Note that if you don't wish to specify a class you must pass an empty string as the first parameter. As an example to specify a tabindex of 4 with no class, call the function as follows:

'spell_insert_comment_button( '', "4" );'

For more flexibility you can add words to the dictionary so that they are not marked as misspelled. By default only people who are registered users of your blog and are logged in ''and'' have a user level greater than 8 can add words to the dictionary. This is a security feature so that people can't add nonsense to your dictionary. People who do not meet these requirements will simply not have an "Add" button on the form. You can modify this behavior with the from the Spell Checker options administration page.

FAQ

Q. I get an error when try to check the spelling and it says something like "The required field 'name' is missing." What do I do? A. That indicates that the language setting you have selected -- it defaults to en_US -- is not appropriate for your aspell installation. Just going by eyeballing statistics, my first suggestion would be to try setting the language to "english" (don't copy the quotes, just the word) and if that still causes problems, cut it back to "en". If neither work ask you hosting provider for the appropriate setting for their aspell installation.

Q. I get blank windows in the spelling checker box. Why? A. It's likely you either don't have the 'aspell' executable or the path to it is not correctly configured. To find out, get a shell to your host and perform a "which aspell". If it tells you there is no such thing install it if possible. If it provides a path (something like '/usr/local/bin/aspell') then open the Spell Checker options administration page and make sure the path matches. When you first install the plugin, this is precisely how the plugin determines the location of the aspell executable.

Q. I get errors in Internet Explorer that say something like "Error: Object expected" on Line 44. A. This is another case of an aspell path problem. See the previous question for details.

Q. I don't get a button. Instead it says something about "safe_mode". A. Servers that run PHP in safe_mode sometimes do not allow execution of executables in certain ways. Unfortunately, this plugin requires the execution of the aspell executable to do its work. Until the author figures out a way around it, there is no support for hosts that run PHP in safe_mode. Sorry. The current version checks for safe_mode and refuses to even try to run, just to save some support questions.

Q. I don't see an "Add" button on my checker! A. By default you must be logged in to your WordPress installation and the user you log in as must have a user level of 8 before you see an "Add" button. You can modify this behavior with the from the Spell Checker options administration page.

Q. My "Add" button grays out and changes to "Adding..." when I add a word and then never comes back. Q. I get a failure when adding a word to the dictionary. A. Something is probably not configured correctly for your particular "aspell" installation. I gave a best first approximation of the command to add words to dictionaries, but aspell has many versions and may have a different set of parameters for you. First, check in the "wp-content/spell-plugin/" directory for a file called "add_failed.out". It should have some data for you. Try to determine what happened and perhaps experiment with your aspell installation and determine the correct parameters.

Q. It doesn't work! I get the "Spell check in progress..." indication in the popup window, but then just a blank page. A. This is a permissions problem with the personal dictionary. Open the Spell Checker options administration page and change the location of the personal dictionary to be a place where the ''Apache web server can write.'' Note that to specify, for instance, your home directory, you must provide the full path to that directory, as the web server generally runs under a different user id.

Q. I get failures (of various kinds) when trying to add a word to the dictionary and I'm running WordPress 1.2.1. A. If you leave the options at the default -- especially the security option that users must be logged in to the blog in order to add words -- you will likely fail to add words in WordPress 1.2.1. This is a problem with a relative path in the wp-admin/auth.php file that the plugin uses to log you in. To fix, I highly recommend you upgrade to 1.2.2 as soon as possible.

If all else fails and you never wind up with an aspell personal dictionary (by default created at "wp-content/plugins/spell/aspell.personal") or you determine that your version of aspell doesn't support creation or merging of personal dictionaries -- yes, this ''does'' happen -- there's one last thing to try. Open the Spell Checker options administration page and enable the "Enable manual personal dictionary handling for broken aspell installations" option. This will turn on some functionality that will circumvent the aspell personal dictionary creation and merging functions and handle that inside the plugin.

Special thanks

This code is merely a mild reworking of the [http://sourceforge.net/projects/spellerpages Speller Pages] project on Source Forge to work within the confines of the WordPress plug-in framework. All credit for the actual spelling checker goes to them. The method of getting the functionality into the interface without code changes was inspired by the [http://www.nosq.com/technology/2004/10/runphp-wordpress-plug-in/ RunPHP] plugin. Options administration inspired by [http://www.unknowngenius.com/blog/wordpress/spam-karma Spam Karma].

Last Updated: 2005-6-23
Downloads: 20,549

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