Carl Burks is a software developer for a global financial institution. With over ten years experience in technology and software development for financial organizations and over twenty years of software experience, Carl Burks provides articles, musings and insight into technology issues, software development, and other selected topics.

Spelling For the Command Line


Carl Burks

If you haven't heard of spell, ispell, or aspell you probably haven't looked for a command line spell checker. The great folks at GNU Aspell have provided a free spell check utility. If you are a windows user and can't be bothered to build from source the way Stallman intended:

Win32 Port

    aspell -c somefile.txt

Running this against a file will give you an error:

    aspell : Error: No word lists can be found for the language "en_US".

Then you realize you forgot to install the Precompiled dictionaries.

Then you realize you are running it in PowerShell ISE:

    initscr(): LINES=1 COLS=1: too small.

Then you find the -a command which lets you pipe from standard in and then errors to standard out.

cat .\content.html | aspell -a

Great.... Well those tags don't work that well.

pandoc to the rescue:

pandoc .\content.html -t plain -o - | aspell -a | ?{$_.StartsWith("&")}

Okay I added that last "StartsWith"" to give me just the errors.

With a little PowerShell-Fu you can turn those into a collection:

    pandoc .\content.html -t plain -o - | aspell -a | ?{$_.StartsWith("&")} | %{

    $pieces =  $_.split(":")
    $parts = $pieces[0].Split(" ");
    $possibleIncorrectWord = $parts[1];
    $lineNumber = $parts[2];
    $column = $parts[3];
    $choices = ($pieces[1..($pieces.Length-1)] -join ":").Split(",") #| %{$_.trim()}


You could do some replacements or manually edit, but you've got a list of what is potentially wrong.