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Sentry Spelling Checker Engine

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Frequently asked questions

How do I use the Sentry speller from my application?
See Add a spell checker to applications you develop for information on using the Sentry engine from various application-development environments.

Can I use Sentry in an ASP application?
Yes. However, the Sentry DLL was designed for use in desktop applications, where concurrency (multiple applications or threads accessing the DLL at the same time) is low. Although Sentry can be used on sites that receive low traffic, Wintertree Spelling Server is a much better choice for ASP applications.

Can I use Sentry in a .NET application?
Yes, but see the question above regarding ASP applications. The Sentry Windows SDK comes with VB.NET and C# example applications. We recommend Sentry for use in desktop .NET applications. Although it is possible to use Sentry, we recommend Wintertree Spelling Server for ASP.NET applications.

What's the difference between Sentry Spell Checker and your WSpell ActiveX product?
The main difference is that Sentry is implemented as a DLL and WSpell is an ActiveX control (OCX). WSpell uses the Sentry engine internally, so the two products are comparable in terms of power and performance. See What's the difference between Sentry and WSpell for a more detailed comparison.

What about support?
Support is included in the price. See Support Policy for a description of the support we provide.

What's the current version of Sentry?
Information on the current version is posted here.

How do I obtain upgrades?
To obtain an upgrade, order product #0108. We also have annual maintenance contracts available (product #0150).

Can I add words to the dictionary?
Yes. Sentry allows your application to open dictionaries, much like a program can open files. When Sentry spellchecks a word, it searches all open dictionaries. Text dictionaries are modifiable; your application can add words to and remove words from them at runtime. The number of dictionaries that can be open at once is limited only by memory. You can easily create a custom dictionary that contains new words, and users can add words to one or more user dictionaries at run time.

Can Sentry offer suggested replacements for misspelled words?
Yes. Sentry's core API includes the Suggest function, which looks up suggestions for misspellings. If your application uses our built-in Windows dialogs, suggestions are offered automatically.

Do I have to use your user interface, or can I write my own?
You can do either or both. Using Sentry's built-in dialog boxes is the easiest approach. You can specify alternate dialog template resources to change the appearance of the dialogs, label and caption text, etc. The Sentry DLL includes a core spell check API which you can use to write your own user interface as well if you prefer. Or, if necessary, you can spellcheck text or look up suggestions for misspelled words without a user interface at all.

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)?
Yes. Sentry can use most other applications' user dictionaries. Also, the built-in Dictionary dialog box contains Import and Export buttons you can use to import the contents of an external user dictionary into one of Sentry's 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 about 350K). The larger the budget, the faster the Sentry engine 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 over 300,000 words per second. Sentry can check all 564,000 words of War and Peace in just over 1.5 seconds. Click here to find out how we measured this.

If we license the Sentry Windows SDK, do we need to license the English Word List too?
No -- The Sentry Windows SDK includes compressed American, British, and Canadian English dictionaries. You would need to license the English Word List only if you needed to modify the dictionary extensively (e.g., remove or add a large number of words)

Do you have a UNIX version? A Macintosh version?
Not currently. Our Sentry Source SDK is portable to these and other platforms, however.

Do I have to pay any royalties or other licensing fees to bundle Sentry with my applications?
No! The Sentry license agreement permits you to bundle certain run-time portions of the Sentry Windows SDK (the Sentry DLL, dictionaries, and a few other bits and pieces) with your applications without paying additional fees.

How long has Sentry been around? Is it stable?
The core spell check engine has been around since 1992. It formed part of a commercial stand-alone spellchecker product. We released Sentry as a separate product in 1993. Since then, it has been used to add a spell checker to many commercial and in-house applications (see our customer list for more information). Although Sentry is mature, it's not out-of-date or old fashioned: We have issued 14 major releases since Sentry's initial release to add new features and keep pace with changing technology.

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:

Click here for more information about Sentry Spell Checker Engine for Windows

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