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Sentry Spelling Checker Engine Source Code

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Frequently asked questions

How do I use the spell check engine from my application?

See Add a spell checker to applications you develop for information on integrating Sentry with an application. See Spelling server design for information on using Sentry in a server.

How much effort is needed to build Sentry?

Building the Sentry engine typically takes about an hour. The build process involves reviewing some portability declarations and running an included makefile.

What about support?

See Support Policy for a description of the support we provide.

How do I obtain upgrades?

To obtain an upgrade, order product #0098. In addition, we have annual maintenance licenses available (product #0149).

Can I add words to the dictionary?

Yes. Sentry allows your application to open dictionaries, much like a program can open files. When Sentry checks the spelling of a word, it checks all open dictionaries. Text dictionaries are modifiable; your application can add and remove words from them at runtime. Any number of dictionaries can be open at once.

Can Sentry offer suggested replacements for misspelled words?

Yes. Sentry's core API includes the Suggest function, which looks up suggestions for misspellings.

Does the dictionary just contain words, or words and definitions?

Just words. Sentry is a highly optimized spell check engine.

Can Sentry use other applications' user dictionaries (e.g., Word for Windows)?

Yes. Sentry can use most other applications' user dictionaries.

How much memory and disk space does Sentry need?

Sentry uses a form of demand paging for memory-tight environments. When you open a compressed dictionary, you can specify a memory budget. The memory budget can be as small as 40K or as large as the disk image of the dictionary (typically 350K - 1Mb). The larger the budget, the faster Sentry runs. A typical application containing Sentry will need an additional 450K of memory and 400K of disk space.

How fast is Sentry?

Very fast! On a modest system, Sentry can spell check nearly 20,000 words per second.

If we license the Sentry Source SDK, do we need to license the English Word List too?

No -- The Sentry Source SDK includes compressed American English and British English dictionaries. You would need to license the English Word List only if you needed to modify the dictionary in some way (e.g., remove or add many words)

We want to compile the Sentry source code on UNIX and the Macintosh. Are there any Windows dependencies in the source code that will get in the way?

No. The spell check engine source code is 100% ANSI C compliant. No operating-system dependent functions were used. A few platform-specific functions are localized in a single source file; each function is documented for easy porting. The Sentry engine has been successfully ported to virtually every major computer platform.

How long has Sentry been around? Is it stable?

The core spellchecker engine has been around since 1992. It formed part of a commercial stand-alone spell checker product. We released Sentry as a separate product in 1993. Since then, it has been used in many commercial and in-house applications (see our customer list for more information).

There are several spell check packages on the market. Why should we license yours?

Glad you asked! Here are a few areas where we beat the competition hands down:

  • We have been around for a long time (since 1992), and we intend to stay around. Since 1992 we have watched several competitors come and go. It's in your interest to select a vendor with a proven track record and longevity to meet your current and future needs.

  • Spell checkers are our business. Our competitors' spell checkers are add-ons to other products and after-thoughts. Our engineering time goes into making Sentry better. We're up on -- and even help to define -- the latest trends in spellcheck technology.
  • Sentry is multi-lingual, with dictionaries available in a variety of languages.
  • Dictionary quality: A spelling checker is only as good as its word list. We'll stack our dictionaries up against anybody's.
  • Source code quality: When you purchase the Sentry source package, you're getting consistent, high-quality, well-commented ANSI C. No GOTOs. No short cuts. No cheesy coding hacks. The design is modular and well structured.
  • Performance: Sentry is very fast.
  • Field proven: Sentry has been in daily use since 1993, in application types ranging from single-user to client-server.
  • Ease of integration: Sentry's API is direct and straightforward. We remember all necessary state information so your application doesn't have to. There are no complicated data structures to set up and maintain.
  • Cross-platform portability: Sentry is available as platform-independent ANSI C source code, meaning Sentry will work with Windows, UNIX, Linux, and Macintosh versions of your applications.
  • Royalty free: No copy counting required, and no disclosure of your sales figures necessary.

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