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Spell Checking with Bon Echo (Firefox 2.0 Beta)

I have always had an interest in the addition of spell checking in Mozilla Firefox. A bit back I got some traffic when I wrote about how to get the Firefox extension SpellBound to work in Firefox 1.5 (in a single day it became my all time most popular blog entry according to Measure Map, thanks to Matt & Lifehacker). Back then I even noted that spell checking was to be incorporated into Firefox 2.
Recently when I saw a link on Digg that a portable app version of the Firefox 2 beta (codenamed Bon Echo) was released I decided to try it out just to take a look at the spelling checking features.
Here some screen shots:

Screen Shot A. A text area with multiple misspellings.

Screen Shot B. Context menu for misspelled word.
Note: I PhotoShopped out the menu items that didn't apply to spell checking.

Screen Shot C. Context menu for form field.

Screen Shot D. Advanced Options menu for Enabling/Disabling spell checking.
Many users will be pleased by the addition of the spell checking feature built right into Firefox. But I personally hope that some more work is done on this feature soon.

Features that need work:

"Spell check this field"
This either needs to be removed or redone. As it currently stands, when you uncheck this option all the red underlines showing you your spelling errors are removed from the form field (which might be useful for taking a screen shot). But it has no effect for when you re-visit a web page. I would prefer for it to act like remembering passwords. You can tell Firefox to never ask to save passwords for a particular form - which is saved and stored for future submissions of the same form. I would think that if for some reason I opted to not spell check a form field, I would never want that field spell checked again, even on revisits. This should have field specific and form specific settings.

"Add dictionaries..."
When you click the menu item to add more dictionaries you are brought to this page on the Mozilla Add-ons site that has spelling related add-ons including what appear to be more dictionaries. But nothing near as clear and to the point as this page that lists various dictionaries for Mozilla Thunderbird.

Missing features:

"Ignore Word"
In Thunderbird when you right-click on a misspelled word you get an "Ignore Word" option. When selected, all instances of that particular word will be exempt from the spell checking.

"Spell Check This Form" / "Tools > Check Spelling..."
Correcting misspellings one word at a time can be tedious if you are a bad speller (like me if you haven't gathered) or if you are dealing with a large body of text. An option to launch a full spell checker to handle the current form field or the entire form would be a wonderful addition. This would add missing options like "Ignore All" and "Replace All" that are found in most spell checkers (including the Firefox extension SpellBound).

"Spell Check On Form Submit" Option
Wouldn't it be nice if a full spell checker was launch when you submitted a form, similar to when you send an e-mail? This combined with my suggestion of storing fields/forms that you want permanently ignored from spell checking would make this extremely awesome.
My conclusion:
While I am happy to see spelling checking built-in, with the current state of the features I do hope that the development version of the Spellbound extension continues to work in Firefox 2.0 to fill in some of the missing features.

User Comments

Monday, November 13th 2006
ur comment:

>I do hope that the development version of the Spellbound extension continues to >work in Firefox 2.0 to fill in some of the missing features.

unfortunately it works only on 1.5.x!!
Monday, November 13th 2006
I think that there is a way to fool extensions to work on versions that they are not meant for... but even then sometimes they don't work correctly due to changes in how the browser works... but it might be possible to continue to use Spellbound.

Hopefully the built-in spellchecking will evolve. Or... another extension will emerge to fill in the feature gaps. Spellbound was not the only spell checker for the 1.5 line (it was just my favorite).

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