General Question

HungryGuy's avatar

Is there a server-side utility that I can call from PHP to spell check a user's input from a text box?

Asked by HungryGuy (15992points) February 6th, 2010

Is there? Huh? Huh? Is there?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

ETpro's avatar

There are a bunch of them out there. Here’s a PHP spell checker class.

HungryGuy's avatar

Thanks! That phpclasses.org is a very useful site!

ETpro's avatar

@HungryGuy Yes it is. And you are welcome.

Vincentt's avatar

The only disadvantage is its tiresome registration process. That, and that it prevents bugmenot from working.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Vincentt – Yes. But all websites seem to have an annoying registration process. But it’s especially annoying when they put the spambot test on the same page that you enter all your personal details. If something fails an edit (my chosen username is already taken, or my password isn’t good enough, or they detected that I gave them a fake phone number, etc.), you have to re-type that spambot test all over again. Despite being human, I sometimes have to make several attempts to read those random letters and numbers correctly. That test should be by itself on its own page at the very start before you go to the full registration page..and that’s how I plan to do it on the site I’m building…

ETpro's avatar

@HungryGuy I hate those CAPTCH scripts. Lots of them are, to my eyes, close to unreadable and my workstation doesn’t have sound, so the little “say it” feature, even if it’s there, doesn’t help me a bit. Makes me hate them spammers all that much more.

Vincentt's avatar

@HungryGuy Ah, looking at it now it’s less annoying than it used to be (I believe it also required a lot more of my details before). Still, it doesn’t let me use a temporary email address. Oh, and the site is extremely ugly ;-)

@ETpro That’s why I prefer using the honey trap :)

ETpro's avatar

@Vincentt Any special methods to ensure it doesn’t snag real users who rely on assistive technology for browsing?

Vincentt's avatar

@ETpro Add a label that says “leave this field empty” and hide that too :)

ETpro's avatar

@Vincentt Yes, I saw that suggestion. I can just see many people missing it, but it’s still a much better approach than the cursed CAPTCHA scripts.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Vincentt – I’m all ears if you have a better idea to replace that spambot test. It’s called CAPTCHA? I didn’t know that… So how does a field you’re supposed to leave empty block spambots from registering?

Vincentt's avatar

@HungryGuy The honeypot technique entails that you add a field that should be left empty, but use CSS or Javascript to hide it for the user (and additionally, for users relying on assistive technology, you add a natural language message saying the field should be left empty, hidden by the same methods). Since spambots mostly do not support CSS or Javascript, they will see the form and, being the bots that they are, enter some details in it (like an email address). Thus, when the form is not empty, you can expect that to be a bot, without having to disturb your regular users. In other words, you’re asking the bots to prove they’re bots ;-)

Additionally, I often rotate between different methods of hiding the fields so the chance is even smaller a bot will know how to get around my particular method.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Vincentt – Intriguing! I’ll consider it. If it really works at blocking spambots, I imagine it’ll eventually catch on…

ETpro's avatar

@HungryGuy The problem is, as soon as it really catches on, it will no longer work at catching spambots because their programmers will add CSS and JS support to look for it.

Vincentt's avatar

Exactly, it mostly works because it’s underground now, but of course, spammers are constantly refining their techniques as well. That said, as an extra layer of defense of course it never hurts.

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