Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Readme from the Dictionary app (1992)

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:1/30/1999; 6:22:23 PM
Topic:Open source English dictionary?
Msg #:2596 (In response to 2595)
Prev/Next:2595 / 2597

About the Dictionary Mini-App

It's a spelling checker type dictionary wired up with Apple Events and scriptable by Frontier. It supports menu sharing.

Check out the dictionary.examples.oneLiners outline in Frontier to see how to call the dictionary program from your scripts. Also, check out dictionary.examples.clipCheck for an example provided by Tom Petaccia that checks the text on the clipboard. Could be very useful in conjunction with a QuicKeys macro, a sample of which is included in the package.

Credit goes to Jeff Heaton at MicroGenesis Software for creating the dictionary library, and the dictionary itself. It's a shareware developer's toolkit called MSGSPELL It's only $50 and you get source code. If you're a C developer you can download the toolkit from MACDEV on CompuServe, like we did. It's a very easy library to integrate!

Since we paid so little for the license, we're making this package absolutely free, but we retain the copyright. Feel free to pass it on!

How the Dictionary was Created

The story behind the creation of the dictionary in this package is really interesting -- the following excerpt is from the readme included with the MSGSPELL package, written by Jeff Heaton:

I have had a few registered users of previous versions of MGSPELL ask me if I was actually crazy enough to sit here and type out THAT many words, the answer is no. Like as many tedious tasks as I can I let my computer do it.

Whenever I logged onto a local BBS, or CompuServe I would open the capture buffer and let it fill with whatever text came across my terminal. I even wrote a little utility that could go through disks and pull out every bit of textual data it could find. I then wrote another software program that would sort these huge text files (some over 1-2 meg long) and remove any duplicate letters.

I had other programs that would run through the list and add extra words, basically adding a ED, ING, S, ES onto EVERY word in the text files. I then had a dictionary with countless mis-spelled words in it.

So I located a shareware library, much like my own, only it was written in PASCAL and wrote a software program in Pascal to spell check my own dictionary against a known good dictionary. I did not do this to every file, some of the files I knew had no errors because they had been drawn from news services and encyclopedias, which allowed my dictionary to surpass in size the dictionary of its checker program.

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