Personal Spelling Checker

Personal Spelling Checker Screen

by: Bryan Schappel and Barry Kolbe

Published date: October 1987

This program was originally published in Antic magazine. It was included as the October 1987 Super Disk Bonus.

Download the executable (5,526 bytes).
Download the MAC/65 source and executable .ZIP (21,523 bytes).

This speedy, powerful machine language program supports up to 10 personal dictionaries. It's easy to use and works with most DOS files. A 48K system and about 31,800 free bytes give you about 6,360 words per dictionary (counting about five bytes per word) -- as many as 63,600 words altogether.

Format a blank disk with DOS 2 or 2.5, then use DOS menu option "H" to WRITE DOS FILES to the disk. This will be your Personal Spell Checking disk.

Next, copy PSC.EXE to this disk. Rename PSC.EXE to AUTORUN.SYS. Finally, copy DICTION.1 to this disk. This is a dictionary file.

Turn your computer off and place your Personal Spell Checker disk into drive 1. Remove all cartridges (hold down [OPTION] on an XL/XE) and turn your Atari ON.

At the prompt, insert a DOS-formatted disk that will contain your dictionaries (the monthly disk contains DICTION.1, a sample dictionary for you to use). You can use the program to create additional dictionaries. Legal dictionary filenames are DICTION.0 through DICTION.9.

NOTE: The program may only use one dictionary at a time. (For example, after proofing your text file with the first dictionary, you must stop, load the next dictionary file, and check the text again.)

If there are no dictionary files on your disk, the program chooses its built-in default dictionary.

The top half of the screen displays information to help you use the program, such as the amount of available memory, your current dictionary and disk directories ("catalogs"). The bottom half is your work area. This is where the main menu will appear.

Choose a menu item by typing the number or the first letter of that item:

  1. Proof Document
  2. Delete Word
  3. View Dictionary
  4. Add File to Dictionary
  5. Catalog
  6. Exit PSC

Proof: Type in a filename. (The "D:" isn't needed if you're using drive 1.) The top of the screen shows the filenames of the current dictionary and file being proofed, the amount of free memory, the number of words in the dictionary and the number of words proofed so far. Below this is the context line, which shows a portion of the sentence containing the word being checked. An unknown word is highlighted and displayed separately below. If it's spelled correctly, just press [RETURN] at the "Correct?" prompt. Otherwise, type in the correct spelling. To add the word to the dictionary, press [RETURN] or [Y]. Press [N] to skip it.

Delete Words: Enter the word to be deleted from your dictionary. Then press [Y] after the prompt "Delete word? [Y/N]" to remove it.

View Dictionary: This is for examining the current dictionary. Pressing any letter key displays the words beginning with that letter. For more words, press [RETURN]. Words can be up to 29 characters.

Add File: This lets you build a dictionary fast -- but do this only if you're sure that all the words in the document are spelled correctly.

Catalog: This gives a directory of drives 1-4, or 8 for a RAMdisk.

Exit PSC: At this point you can save the current dictionary by putting your dictionary disk in drive 1 at the prompt and pressing [RETURN]. You can now restart or return to DOS. If you restart, the current dictionary remains in memory, but you can load one different dictionary if you want.

The first two bytes of a dictionary contain the number of words in the dictionary. Next are 27 pointers to the beginning of each set of words, A-Z. This speeds up the search for a particular word. The 27th pointer points to one byte after the end of the dictionary. Third is a table containing the number of words under each letter.

Finally there is the default dictionary of 26 words. These are AT, BUT, CAN, DO, END, FOR, GET, HOW, IN, JOG, KNOW, LET, ME, NO, ON, PUT, QUIT, RED, SO, THE, UP, VAN, WHO, XEBEC, YES, and ZIP. The first letter is not actually present in the word, and the last letter is in inverse video. Each single-letter word -- that is, "I," "A" and whatever other single letters you choose to call "words" -- are stored as a single inverse letter.

If you choose a command by mistake, press [RETURN] at the first prompt to go back to the main menu.

When proofing a document, PSC creates a file called DOC.TMP and writes your corrected document to it. Your document disk must have at least enough room for one copy of the original document, or the proofreading process will abort.

Since you can specify any drive as the source disk, the DOC.TMP file will also be written to that drive -- so if you have a RAMdisk, this program flies.

When the file has been proofed successfully, the source file is given the extender ".BKP" (even if it already had an extender), and DOC.TMP is given the original filename.

This program is not case-sensitive, so you can enter words in either uppercase or lowercase -- even inverse video -- and the program will convert them to normal uppercase. The only time this conversion is not performed is when you enter a corrected spelling for a word during a proof.

© 2008 Bryan P. Schappel • Valid XHTML Transitional • Valid CSS