I just installed “After the Deadline” on this blog. AtD is a plug-in for WordPress, Firefox and certain other platforms. It detects three different types of errors – each marked in its own color:
- spelling checking
- makes sure I don’t loose the recipe → lose the recipe ♦
- excepts are shown → excerpts are shown ♦
- grammar checking
- Its too hard → It’s too hard
- web site → website ♦
- light colored → light-colored ♦
- Are there other [..] lenses with → Are their other lenses… ♦ [Incorrect suggestion!]
- style checking (“is there a simpler way to say this?”)
- on the other hand → however
The examples flagged with a <♦> are examples that AtD found on various pages of this website. The selected examples show errors that a simple spelling checking (based on dictionary lookup) could not detect.
The plug-in is installed by default on all blogs hosted by WordPress.com and can be easily installed on WordPress sites hosted elsewhere. Currently English is fully supported and French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish have preliminary (probably mainly spelling checking?) support.
After the Deadline is by a scientist/developer named Raphael Mudge whose one-man software company got acquired by Automattic in June 2009. Matt Mullenweg is quite famous for knowing what technologies to invest in.
One key trick inside After the Deadline is a large database (server-side) of statistics about how often sequences of words occur in a particular order. The software also contains a list of rules and common mistakes. So far, it is working well, and found errors on my blog that a Firefox plug-in hadn’t caught.