One of OS X’s pioneering features was giving check-as-you-type, right-click-suggest spell checking to every application that wanted it, free of charge. It’s so nice to be able to focus on writing without worrying that I’ve made an obvious spelling error, or, even better, intentionally mispelling a word so I can get instant access to the right variation — and being able to do this in almost any context.

Amazing that years later, something that useful and handy is absent from the Java Desktop stack* and Windows. In the meantime, Apple took it a step further with the latest release of OS X: a commodity dictionary.

The next text widget feature I want to see commoditized is auto-complete. I’ve been authoring some documents in XML and XHTML, and my text editor memorizes every word I’ve entered and offers autocomplete options (if I request them). It’s addictive and productive. And I want it everywhere.

* If the service isn’t present natively (and on Windows/Linux I don’t imagine it is), just provide a Java native version

2 thoughts on “Give Me My Commodity Text Widget Features, Please

  1. Cocoa text widgets already include auto-complete, but the implementation is a bit lacking. You can activate it with option-esc in most applications, including Safari. The reason it isn’t very satisfying: typing additional characters dismisses the dialog rather than reducing the list of options. Maybe we should ask Apple to make the list less flighty, so we can actually use it.

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