Improve our spell checker offering on Mac

Tim Guan-tin Chien timdream at
Thu Dec 29 10:39:51 UTC 2016

On Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 7:58 AM, Ehsan Akhgari <ehsan.akhgari at>

> On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 10:57 AM, Tim Guan-tin Chien <timdream at
> > wrote:
>> On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 9:33 PM, Ehsan Akhgari <ehsan.akhgari at>
>> wrote:
>> > The spelling suggestions between different spelling engines will almost
>> > definitely always differ. However with the example below it is unclear
>> to me
>> > which suggestion is better, since the typed word barely resembles
>> either of
>> > the two suggestions. It also depends on the words you include in the
>> > dictionary. For example we exclude rare English words from the
>> dictionary
>> > because they're much less likely to be used in real text and it would
>> serve
>> > as a bad suggestion for a misspelled word.
>> I would agree it's a hard problem. That's why I am asking for better
>> user insight into this (instead of rely my guy feeling, or yours).
> Can you please an example of what you would like to see?  I still don't
> understand what you're proposing.  It looks like we both agree we shouldn't
> make decisions on the spell checker *engine* based on the quality of
> suggestions for one word in the English dictionary.

I don't have more examples than keep populating my list as I encounter
them. Should I come back after I have enough words in the list, or are you
asking for something else?

In the context of product offering, my proposal is, instead of us decide
what's *better*, we should make the product team aware of the feature and
maybe make a quicker decision based on the great-or-dead notion. I don't
know if this is a list they are reading.

> > Another point to consider is the breadth of different languages
>> supported. I
>> > don't know how many languages OSX supports for spell checking but I
>> wouldn't
>> > be surprised if that's a subset of the languages we support.
>> That's indeed being mentioned on the original bug.
>> I would argue that we should at least offer OSX spell as a pref-able
>> user choice, given how hard it would be to build that as an add-on.
> The current spell checker module doesn't do a great job at abstracting
> away the spell checking backend details, although we try to a bit (see
> mozISpellCheckingEngine for the current backend abstraction.)  We also
> don't support more than one engine, so supporting the Apple spell checking
> backend is probably going to be a significant amount of work (I don't know
> anything about the programmatic API that Apple provides and how hard that
> is to use for us, I'm assuming that part is sufficiently straightforward
> with a quick look at
> nsspellchecker).
> I'm still unconvinced that supporting this for the purpose of spell
> checking is meaningfully better or worse than what we currently have,
> ignoring the issue of the languages that Apple doesn't support.  However I
> think this would be interesting if we wanted to use the grammar checking
> features.
> This all being said, the current spell checking module is almost
> unmaintained, so realistically I don't expect any work to be done here for
> the lack of human power if not anything else.  :(
Yeah, I understand given the effort needed this need more justification.
Thank you very much for the response BTW.
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