TJ VanToll

Hey Developers - You Should Spell Check Your Documentation

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As developers we write code. Therefore, the thought of using a spell checker brings to mind something like this:

…which is why text editors don’t have spell checking on by default. And that’s fine when writing code, however, most developers write at least some documentation.

Increasingly this documentation is markdown, XML, or JSON files stored in a git repository. Therefore, you likely use the same editor to write documentation as you do to write code - and unfortunately, writing documentation without a spell checker inevitably leads to spelling errors.

Bad spelling makes your documentation look less professional, and less professional documentation reflects badly on your library, product, or whatever. Therefore I thought I’d share what I do in Sublime Text to help prevent mistakes.

What I Do

Like most editors, Sublime Text has spell checking built in, but it is turned off by default. You can turn it on by adding "spell_check": true to your user preferences file, which is opened with Command + , on OS X and Control + , on Windows.

Because spell checking is a configurable property, turning it on and off is a matter of toggling the property’s value:

/* Writing docs */
"spell_check": true

/* Writing code */
"spell_check": false

Like most spell checkers, you can right click misspelled words to get suggested fixes:

You can also tell Sublime to ignore certain words:

The hardest part of course is actually remembering to turn the spell checker on. But, even if you only remember occasionally, you can still catch a lot of misspellings.