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Wintertree Spelling Server

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the DE and XE versions of Wintertree Spelling Server?

Click here for an explanation of the differences between the two versions.

How do I use Wintertree Spelling Server on my Web site?

You can use Wintertree Spelling Server in two ways:

  • Use the included spelling applet to spell-check the contents of text areas in your HTML forms. The applet is tiny (just 11K) and communicates with your server to check spelling. Using the applet requires virtually no programming on your part.

  • You add a spell checker to your ASP and ASP.NET applications. Your application calls Wintertree Spelling Server (running on your server) to check the spelling of text entered in HTML forms. Example ASP and ASP.NET applications are included with Wintertree Spelling Server. Click here to see how these examples work.

What's the difference between Wintertree Spelling Server and Sentry Spelling Checker for Windows?

Wintertree Spelling Server was designed specifically for use on high-traffic servers, where multiple clients make simultaneous spelling requests. Features such as shared dictionaries and a stateless API make this possible without sacrificing performance. The Sentry product, on the other hand, was designed for use in desktop applications where it would be accessed within at most a few concurrent threads, and is therefore far less efficient in a highly concurrent situation such as a web server.

What happens in the DE version when a fifth spelling request is received? Does the user get an error message?

The limit of four simultaneous spelling requests in the DE version has no undesirable side-effects. The fifth simultaneous spelling request is simply queued internally until one of the first four finishes. From the outside, nothing appears to happen at all. No error messages are displayed, and no exceptions are raised. The user would be entirely unable to tell whether his or her request was the fifth, and therefore queued, or the first, and processed right away. The fifth request is not rejected or discarded; it simply waits for its turn. We like to use the analogy of a barber shop with four chairs to describe the DE version. From the outside, you could see a customer (a spelling request) go in, and some time later that customer would come out (the spelling request would be finished). You couldn't easily tell if the customer was served right away or had to sit in the waiting area for a while until a barber chair became available. Of course, if it was necessary to wait in the waiting area, it would take a little longer for the customer to come out.

With only five simultaneous spelling requests, the difference between the DE and XE versions of Wintertree Spelling Server are negligible. At higher loads (e.g., 50 simultaneous requests), the XE version has higher throughput. That is the only difference between the DE and XE versions.

What about support?

Free support is included in the purchase price. See Support Policy for a statement of our support policy.

How do I obtain upgrades?

Annual maintenance contracts are available (order product #0226 or #0231). With an annual maintenance contract, we will send you any major or minor upgrades. You can also purchase upgrades for new versions at any time (order product #0239 or #0240).

Can I add words to the dictionary?

Yes. You can create custom dictionaries which can be shared by call clients (users). For example, you could create a custom dictionary containing the names of products sold on your site. Users can also add words to user dictionaries at run time.

Can Wintertree Spelling Server offer suggested replacements for misspelled words?

Yes. Wintertree Spelling Server's API includes the Suggest method, which looks up suggestions for misspellings.

Does the dictionary just contain words, or words and definitions?

Just words. Wintertree Spelling Server is a highly optimized spell check engine.

How much memory and disk space does Wintertree Spelling Server need?

Surprisingly little! See Technical Details for information on Wintertree Spelling Server's resource requirements.

How fast is Wintertree Spelling Server?

Very fast! Fast enough to check the spelling of all 500,000+ words in War and Peace in less than 1.5 seconds. Click here for information on Wintertree Spelling Server's performance.

If we license Wintertree Spelling Server, do we need to license the English Word List too?

No. Wintertree Spelling Server comes with American, Canadian, and UK English dictionaries.

We have a database application. Will Wintertree Spelling Server work with our database?

Wintertree Spelling Server works with database and non-database applications. Wintertree Spelling Server uses dictionary files that are not connected in any way to your database.

Does the text being spell-checked have to come from an HTML form?

The text spell-checked by Wintertree Spelling Server can come from anywhere. Wintertree Spelling Server has an API that spellchecks text in a string. The string can come from any source, including database fields and text boxes in web forms.

We need a way to validate keywords (or part numbers, product ids, etc.) before searching. Can Wintertree Spelling Server do that?

Certainly. Just create a custom dictionary containing your keywords and tell Wintertree Spelling Server to use it. When the user enters keywords for searching, have Wintertree Spelling Server check the spelling of each keyword against your custom dictionary. Any unknown keywords will be reported as misspelled words. Wintertree Spelling Server can even suggest replacements based on similarity to valid keywords. One of the examples included with Wintertree Spelling Server demonstrates this technique.

Can Wintertree Spelling Server suggest corrections for misspelled keywords, like the "Did you mean..." feature in popular search engines?

Yes. Wintertree Spelling Server comes with an example that demonstrates this.

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