There’s no surprise that I really like WordPress/Automattic – they just keep on rolling out impressive features and finishing touches which improve the process of publishing on the web. I can’t believe just how far this platform has come in a few years.
What is it this time? Just a really fantastic spell-checking plugin called “After the Deadline”. I’d consider myself a fairly capable user of the English language, but sometimes stuff slips by. Of course, being a dedicated Firefox user I have an English (GB) dictionary build right into the browser – and whilst this is good, it fails to do some of the things that After the Deadline offers, such as style and grammar suggestions.
After the Deadline will analyse your post as you write it and highlight potential errors with an underline (red for spelling, green for grammar, blue for style), similar to grammar and spell checkers in word processing software. Clicking on a highlighted word or phrase will reveal the suggested correction, tell you why it’s suspected to be an error, and allow you to accept or ignore it.
You can get a better idea about it by watching the following video:
If you’re a WordPress.com user, well it’s automatically available to you, and if you’re a self-hosted WordPress user (as I am) you can just add the plugin through your own site or download it from WordPress.org. Self-hosted users will need to pick up an API key over at www.afterthedeadline.com
Does it work?
Heck yeah. Writing this post I instantly saw the benefits.
I quickly worked out that I needed to drop in on my profile options screen to enable some of the fancy features that make this more than just a spell checker. After selecting all available options, I was able to see just how useful this plugin is.
In the first draft of this post it suggested that I should avoid a cliché:
Avoid “time and time again“
Clichés are phrases used so much they lose their original power. Try revising the meaning of this phrase using your own words. It will make a stronger impact on your reader.
How cool is that? I don’t particularly want to fall into the trap of reiterating tired and worn out phrases, and now I’ve got a way of quickly checking that my English usage isn’t becoming conventional – something most likely to spew forth from a brain addled by a world which encourages “text speak” and diminutive attention spans.
I can also see this being a really nice addition for clients that have WordPress powered websites. My only question is – is there a shortcut key?