Don't Poke Badgers
Free/Open Source Software from Joshua Cantara


      Our web based Spell Check script, called WBOSS (Web Based Open Source Spell Checker) is designed to work with any text input form on any web page.  It is called from a second form, opens a pop-up window, allows the user to check the text,  then inserts the text back in the main window's form field. WBOSS is being used in over 15 countries (at last count), in hundreds of public and private institutions in the United States and abroad.

2011 Update: Although it has been years since the last release of the application, don't let this put you off trying it out. There may be software as a service (SAAS) spell-checking options, but they are usually ad-supported or cost money. This solution is now and will always be completely free. Don't consider the age of this script as a liability, but rather a testament to its longevity and sustained usefulness.

The current version is 2.5i

Notes on 2.5i beta release. True custom dictionary support needs testing. Edit the supplied custom.dic file and report back your results. Words in that file should appear in the drop-downs as suggested replacements. If you have problems with this feature, simply delete the custom.dic file. Also, international character support needs testing as well. It is enabled by default, so those of you with servers set to different internationalizations than "us" please throw lots of accented characters at it and let me know how it works. If you have problems with this feature you can easily disable it by finding my comments in the source code and commenting out a line.


This program requires:
  • Unix-based OS, ie: Linux, FreeBSD, and OSX
  • Ispell, Aspell or CocoASpell (Mac/OSX): Ispell is probably by default installed on your system.  Aspell is much improved over Ispell, and what I recommend if you have the time.  This is the engine that runs the spell checking.
  • IPC::Open3.  Some systems only come with IPC::Open2, so you may have to install IPC::Open3 in addition.
  • Users running a browser than handles JavaScript.  IE5/6 or NS6 recommended.
  • The WBOSS script:  The perl script that runs server side.


Things I would like you to do:
  • Credit me on pages that use it, with a link.  But, only if you want.  Free is free.
  • Submit to me any changes you make, because you're probably a better programmer than I am.


The Documentation:
  • CommuniGatePro users, for custom instructions choose your architecture: Intel/Sparc/Etc | Mac OS X
  • You must be familiar with Java Script and Perl or at least be able to fake it as well as (or better than) I did.
  • Look and feel based on CSS code in the script itself. Default CSS matches my SpringSky Skin for CommuniGate Pro, however it is disabled due to problems with Netscape 4. Can be easily enabled and modified.
  • Read the source code comments for variables that need changing.
  • How to integrate:  Use the HTML/JS code from form_text.txt after the close of your first form:
  • Place on your server, chmod it to be executable.
  • Edit custom.dic, leaving the first line UNCHANGED, add words to it which will be added to the main dictionary and used as suggested replacements.

Problems and Planned Upgrades

  • Submit a Bug?
Planned Upgrades:
  • Submit a request?

Version History

  • Version 2.5i, released May 1st, 2003: Stable release with two beta functions in it. True custom dictionary support and international character support. All users are encouraged to upgrade and report back their results with both features. If problems are experienced both features can be easily disabled, so don't worry about upgrading to a broken product. CSS and UI have also been fully rewritten so it is more compatible with older browsers, yet looks much nicer on all browsers.
  • Version 2.2.2, released April 18th, 2002: Removed "security" check due to many problems reported. It was a pathetic attempt anyway.
  • Version 2.2, released March 1st, 2002: Disabled CSS by default, as it breaks javascript in some versions of Netscape 4.x.  Enable CSS in source code by removing the "/*" and "*/" within in the STYLE defintion (RECOMMENDED)
  • Version 2.1, Released January 25th, 2002: Security update: Script now checks to see if it is being called from the domain name it runs on to prevent people from linking directly to your spell check script. Custom ignore dictionary implemented.
  • Version 2.0, Released January 21st, 2002: Big changes to html, uses embedded style sheet. Looks MUCH MUCH better in Netscape!
  • Version 1.5a, Released September 6th, 2001: Made minor change to javascript.
  • Version 1.5, Released August 24th, 2001: No longer needs Lingua::Ispell.  Tuned and imported module.
  • Version 1.3, Released May 8th, 2001: More updates to rewrite.
  • Version 1.2, Released May 7th, 2001: Semi-Major code rewrite.
  • Version 1.1.1d, Released April 10th, 2001: Added a subroutine to debug some errors people have been reporting.  If you download and run this version, please send me the output.
  • Version 1.1.1, Released March 26th, 2001: String length problem has been take care of.
  • Version 1.1, Released March 7th, 2001: Wow, we here at dpb are ashamed of ourselves. Version 1.0 has now been fixed.
  • Version 1.0, Released March 5th, 2001: Quotes problem solved, and works perfect, as far as I know.
  • Version 0.5b, Released February 1st, 2001: Manual fix text field now in place.
  • Version 0.4a, Released February 1st, 2001: Punctuation now works on misspelled words.
  • Version 0.3a, Released February 1st, 2001: Handles line breaks.  Java Script re-written.
  • Version 0.2a, Released January 31st, 2001: Less variables to edit in the script.
  • Version 0.1a, Released January 18th, 2001: First Version.


The Programmer: Joshua Cantara
Chief Bad Speller/Beta Tester: Greg Grappone
Ispell Connect Code: John D Porter
String Length Problem Solution: Dr. Ash Alom
Word Frame implementation: Chung-Kie Tung
Javascript Suggestion: Todd Lewis
Custom Dictionary Suggestion: Torgny Bjers
CSS Fix for Netscape 4: Adam Sleight