For school this semester, I am exploring the static analysis of web sites as a means of user acceptance testing. In the world of web development, all of your hard work and time invested in a project means nothing if your users have a poor experience. When it comes to testing a web site, acceptance testing gets the least amount of attention and actually can cause the most amount of damage. There are a number of tools available to aid in the writing and executing unit, functional, and integration tests, but the burden lies on individuals over tools when it comes to proofreading content and examining the structure and appearance of a web site.
In one part of this project, I am looking at the content of a web page and want to feed the text through some sort of spell checker. I started working with Aspell at first, but I was a little disappointed with the built-in dictionary and capabilities of the service. Instead, I decided to work with After the Deadline. After the Deadline is a cool new spelling, style, and grammar checker that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to detect errors in your text. AtD is an open source service that has an easy to use web interface and is gaining a lot of exposure through its TinyMCE, WordPress, and Firefox extensions.
For my project, I have written a little Ruby wrapper on top of the web service to make it easier to work with. The source code is available at:http://github.com/msepcot/after_the_deadline. I plan on creating some helper methods to integrate AtD with Ruby’s testing framework, so watch my GitHub repository for future updates.