After the Deadline Live for WP.com

Last week you guys published 1.4 million new blog posts, but you only ran the spell checker about 204 thousand times. Ahem. The two possible explanations for this are that we’re all perfect writers or that we just forget to run the spell checker. I’m in the latter camp.

I don’t blame you — spell checkers are usually pretty lame. They are bad with most proper nouns and usually my problem isn’t spelling (which my browser catches), but grammar and style.

It’s amazing to me how hard it is to edit one’s own writing. I can read something I’ve written ten times, even speak it out loud, and miss obvious errors and mistakes that an editor (often Jane) spots on their first pass. And what if Jane isn’t around?

Now there’s a solution for everybody. It’s already live on your blog, and it’s from a company called After the Deadline. Here’s a video to introduce you to it:

When I first tried After the Deadline I was blown away; it was so much better than other checkers I’d used, and it was by one guy building this thing that solves a problem other folks have teams of PhDs trying to solve. I reached out to Raphael (the one guy) to see how we could get this technology in front of WordPress users and ended up doing a deal for Automattic to buy his entire company.

The other cool thing about this new technology is that it’s getting better every day — Raphael is constantly adding new rules and heuristics, and the technology is learning from millions of blog posts on WP.com to make the contextual parts of the checker smarter and smarter.

At its core WordPress has always been about writing — that’s why we put so much effort into things like the visual editor, revisions, and auto-save, so you never lose your work. Now you have another arrow in your quiver to help you present the best possible face to your readers and the world.

As the video above shows, you can enable and customize the way After the Deadline analyzes your posts by adjusting the new Proofreading settings in your profile, and then use the new feature by clicking on the icon in the Visual Editor toolbar that has ABC and a green checkmark on it. After the Deadline will analyze your post as you write it and highlight potential errors with an underline (red for spelling, green for grammar, blue for style), similar to grammar and spell checkers in word processing software. Clicking on a highlighted word or phrase will reveal the suggested correction, tell you why it’s suspected to be an error, and allow you to accept or ignore it.

You can read more about the story behind Automattic acquiring After the Deadline on the official AtD blog.

This feature is English-only for now (give us a little time) and available for WordPress.org as a plugin.


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