Spell Catcher X 10.2.1: Not so minor update

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 8th, 2005 • 5:08 am

Version 10.2.1 of Spell Catcher X was released earlier this week. It might sound like a minor, insignificant update, but there are more new features in this update than Microsoft have ever bothered to include in their humongous and useless “Service Packs”.

First, you can now include cursor key movements in glossary expansions. This means that you can have a glossary entry that replaces, say, uurl with [url=][/url] and places the insertion point right in between the opening tag and the closing tag in the resulting string of code. All you have to do is add a few instructions to move the cursor left at the end of the glossary entry expansion:


It’s a feature similar to something that’s been available in the glossary feature in BBEdit for a long time. The difference, of course, is that BBEdit’s glossary feature only works in BBEdit (and other Bare Bones applications), whereas Spell Catcher X’s glossary feature works everywhere.

The second key feature is Spotlight support (for Mac OS X 10.4 users only). Spell Catcher X gets Spotlight to index its glossary files, and then you can do a Spotlight search to find a word in any glossary file, including glossary expansions.

Prior to this, Spell Catcher X did have a feature that could search for a word in your glossary files, but only in the “Abbreviation” column. Text searches targeting the “Expansion” side of things only worked on a file-by-file basis.

I now have a smart folder in the Finder that searches inside my “SCX Reference Files” folder (which contains all my glossary files) for any entry whose “Shorthand Expansion” contains a given word.

Whenever I want to search for a particular word in my glossary expansions, I just edit the smart folder’s criteria and type the word that I am looking for.

When, like me, you have dozens of different glossary files (one for English proper nouns, one for French phrases relating to a specific field of work, one for bits of UUCode like the one above, etc.), it is not unusual to be faced with a situation where you know you have a glossary entry for a particular phrase, but you cannot remember what the abbreviation is. Well, now, finding it is a matter of seconds.

Not content with adding new features, Spell Catcher X also provides a crucial work-around for a bug in Mail 2.0 which causes Mail to insert spurious return characters after glossary expansions. Since it’s a bug that only Spell Catcher X experience, you can bet that Apple is going to take its time to fix it. So it’s really nice of Rainmaker Inc. to provide us with a work-around in the mean time.

Finally, for people with more than one audio output device (a pair of USB speakers in addition to a pair of headphones connected to the Mac’s audio-out port, for example), you’ll be glad to know that Spell Catcher X now plays its sound effects through the device selected for alert sounds and sound effects in Mac OS X’s Sound preference pane. This means that, if you are listening to music on your headphones while typing text and using Spell Catcher’s interactive features, the sound effects signalling errors will play through the same device you are using for Mac OS X alert sounds. You can channel the alert sounds to the USB speakers and the music to your headphones, or vice-versa. No need for a third-party tool such as Rogue Amoeba’s Detour!

Not bad for a 10.2.1 update, uh?

2 Responses to “Spell Catcher X 10.2.1: Not so minor update”

  1. Evan Gross says:

    You can shorten that expansion of yours to end with <left6> if you want – almost all of the special “key” tags can take a count appended to them.

    And the problem in Mail with what seems like “extra returns,” well, isn’t exactly that (it appears to the user that way) – really I think it’s just Mail putting the insertion point in the wrong place because of the way it handles spaces from an input method differently from spaces typed from the keyboard. Anyway, this problem does actually affect users of Apple’s Korean input method as well, and in all editable WebView’s, not just those used by Mail, so there is some hope of it actually getting fixed.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks for the tip about the count! I guess I missed that one.

    Yeah, the “extra returns” phrase is just the quickest way for me to describe it. I know it’s rather more complicated than this :).

    Would be curious to know your reaction to the WWDC announcements, BTW!

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