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Text to get smarter in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, expected this summer, will deliver a variety of advanced text related features across all applications that use Core Text, according to people familiar with Apple's plans.

While Mac OS X already delivers integrated, system wide spelling and grammar checking, as well as "smart copy/paste," "smart quotes," and "smart links," each of which offers to enhance text as it is being typed, it's reported that Snow Leopard will significantly expand upon text entry with a series of expanded features along similar lines.

Automatic spell check

Among the new features are automatic spell correction, which, according to people familiar with the software, will optionally allow the system to fix obvious spelling errors while the user types, rather than only underlining misspelled words in red squiggles for the user to correct themselves. Auto correction is already a feature of the iPhone, where words that appear to be misspelled are popped up in a suggestion bubble that can be touched to dismiss if the correction isn't desired.

In Snow Leopard, automatic spell correction will simply replace words such as "teh" or "spelll" once the user hits the spacebar. Like the existing spell correction using red squiggle underlines, the feature comes directly from Microsoft Word, which similarly offers to automatically correct words while the user types. The new system wide improvement will simply extend the feature to all applications. Like the existing spell check and similar features, the automatic spell check can also be switched off by the user.

Substitutions

Another feature new in the Snow Leopard Core Text engine is Substitutions, something that will be familiar to users of the Palm OS as well as Word users. Microsoft refers to the feature in Word (below) as part of AutoCorrect called "replace text as you type."



In Snow Leopard, users will similarly be able to define a list of phrases or long words that will be automatically substituted when the user types a given character sequence. For example, "MOSX" could be designated to expand to "Apple's Mac OS X operating system," or whatever the user desires.

Those familiar with recent betas say a variety of substitutions are already defined in Snow Leopard, including items common to Word, such as typing "(c)" to obtain the copyright symbol. Each of these substitutions can be manually turned on and off individually, and the user can add as many new items as they wish.

Smart pasteboard: Services

Snow Leopard will also expand upon novel copy and paste features that originated at NeXT and from the Classic Mac OS. The first is Services, which was coined at NeXT. Services is an architecture that allows the operating system to copy text or other information, send it to another app for processing, and then optionally return it in a modified form.

Mac OS X already supports Services, but they're all hidden away in a big messy submenu under the Application menu. To use them, a user currently needs to make a selection, then navigate the cluttered menu looking for the desired action. While many applications install Services they can perform, few of them are very useful.

In Snow Leopard, it's reported that a smart selection of relevant Services will appear right in the contextual menu of a selection, making their utility far more obvious. The items will also be tagged with the applications' icon, such as a Mail icon representing the ability to "Send [the selected text] to Mail."

In addition, a new submenu in the contextual menu will reportedly offer to perform "Transformations," such as changing the selected text to all caps, or all small letters, or capitalized. This would appear to be a new type of Services offered by the system itself, essentially copying the selection to the pasteboard, performing an algorithm on it, and then returning it to the working document.



Smart selection: Data Detectors

A somewhat related feature, this time derived from work done at Apple's Advanced Technology Group in the 1990s, is Data Detectors. They enable the system to recognize bits of text as actionable items, such as addresses, phone numbers, or dates. Leopard reintroduced the technology in Mac OS X by enabling detected data in Mail to be used to create iCal events or Address Book contacts.

In Snow Leopard, sources say, Data Detectors can be turned on anywhere text appears within an application that uses the Core Text framework. That means a bit of text that appears to be a phone number would be highlighted with a subtle menu control that offers to, for example, add the number to either an existing or new contact in Address Book.
post #2 of 53
I just hope they provide simple means to undo the "correction" where it is undesirable.
post #3 of 53
I doubt these new features have much to do with Core Text. CT is used for lower-level text operations such as typesetting and font operations. Editing features like these are more likely a feature of Cocoa's text system, independently of Core Text.

Quote:
Ooh, "Core Text". That sounds fancy. I'll use that for the article!
post #4 of 53
I would love to see Data Detectors support in Safari (and also on the iPhone), as this is a very useful tool when it comes to adding an event to iCal directly from the web, or a contact to Address Book, or even an easy link to Google Map address online.

However I am also wondering if the reason it was not done is potential security exploits. Like a badly formed address causing a crash or something. However if it is a service in Mail then I don't see why it can't be a system wide service in other apps.

Besides, it is a user initiated procedure, so perhaps the security is not as bad as something automatic.
post #5 of 53
Auto-correct would be handy I guess. I'd use it.
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post #6 of 53
This sounds that stuff that has been available from third parties for free (like Wordservices from http://www.devon-technologies.com/pr.../services.html ) will now be built-in.
post #7 of 53
Personally, I would rather see Apple take the time to improve how NSTableView interacts with text. For example, a table really should automatically cache row height for wrapping text. I never have understood the point of wrapping text in a NSTableview within Interface Builder. Without programatically calculating the above problem, it is useless.

If I am all wet on this, someone please point it out, I would love to see a solution to this problem.
post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

I just hope they provide simple means to undo the "correction" where it is undesirable.

Yeah, no doubt. What if you intentionally wanted to spell something wrong or didn't want the first letter of a sentence capitalized? How would you override that without having to go back and forth to the preferences?
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Yeah, no doubt. What if you intentionally wanted to spell something wrong or didn't want the first letter of a sentence capitalized? How would you override that without having to go back and forth to the preferences?

Command-Z.
post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

I just hope they provide simple means to undo the "correction" where it is undesirable.

I am guessing a command z will do the trick. Open pages and try to make a list. (a), (b), (c). When you hit spacebar after the ")" on the c, it will create the copyright symbol (assuming you haven't changed your preferences). To get the (c) back, just command z.
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In Snow Leopard, users will similarly be able to define a list of phrases or long words that will be automatically substituted when the user types a given character sequence. For example, "MOSX" could be designated to expand to "Apple's Mac OS X operating system," or whatever the user desires.

This is great news for Apple Insider staff. Now you can just write "Apple" and have "the Cupertino-based company" automatically inserted. hehe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

I just hope they provide simple means to undo the "correction" where it is undesirable.

I wish they had a Learn Spelling app that could be manually edited. The file is in ~/Library/Spelling/ and it opens up with a text editor, but there are so many hidden control characters that the average user will mess it up if they try to edit it.
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post #12 of 53
While Apple's getting some good ideas from Microsoft, here's hoping they copy Windows' system-wide use of the HOME and END keys (and other related keys): [substituting Command for Control]

HOME - move to the beginning of the line
END - move to the end of the line

CMD+HOME - Top of document
CMD+END - End of document

CMD+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW - Move by word

CMD+UP/DOWN ARROW - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Paragraph

CMD+PAGE UP/PAGE DOWN - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Page

(and for those with crippled/laptop keyboards:
OPTION+HOME/END: Top/End of document
OPTION+LEFT/RIGHT: Beginning/End of Line
OPTION+UP/DOWN: Beginning of Previous/Next Page

Windows has these very useful text navigation keyboard shortcuts at the system level, so no matter what program you're using, they act the same (unless the app has a specific reason to change them). It's really handy. (And surprising -- for the most part Apple's keyboard shortcuts and mnemonics have always been more consistent and common-sense than Windows. Except for these simple text navigation keys.)
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

While Apple's getting some good ideas from Microsoft, here's hoping they copy Windows' system-wide use of the HOME and END keys (and other related keys): [substituting Command for Control]

HOME - move to the beginning of the line
END - move to the end of the line

CMD+HOME - Top of document
CMD+END - End of document

CMD+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW - Move by word

CMD+UP/DOWN ARROW - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Paragraph

CMD+PAGE UP/PAGE DOWN - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Page

(and for those with crippled/laptop keyboards:
OPTION+HOME/END: Top/End of document
OPTION+LEFT/RIGHT: Beginning/End of Line
OPTION+UP/DOWN: Beginning of Previous/Next Page

Windows has these very useful text navigation keyboard shortcuts at the system level, so no matter what program you're using, they act the same (unless the app has a specific reason to change them). It's really handy. (And surprising -- for the most part Apple's keyboard shortcuts and mnemonics have always been more consistent and common-sense than Windows. Except for these simple text navigation keys.)

Sounds good, but Apple has gone the other way - they don't want to give you a full size keyboard. The mini keyboard is now the default on iMacs - no home or end keys, no right delete key, no page up or down, and inconvenient smaller arrow keys (and no number pad).

You can only get the full-size keyboard with your new iMac online (BTO) from Apple - even the Apple Stores can't sell you an iMac with full-size keyboard! So I doubt Apple is going to put much effort into adding functions for those keys.
post #14 of 53
Grammar check do not work for me none.
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post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is great news for Apple Insider staff. Now you can just write "Apple" and have "the Cupertino-based company" automatically inserted. hehe

LMAO!

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post #16 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Sounds good, but Apple has gone the other way - they don't want to give you a full size keyboard. The mini keyboard is now the default on iMacs - no home or end keys, no right delete key, no page up or down, and inconvenient smaller arrow keys (and no number pad).

You can only get the full-size keyboard with your new iMac online (BTO) from Apple - even the Apple Stores can't sell you an iMac with full-size keyboard! So I doubt Apple is going to put much effort into adding functions for those keys.

Maybe they're trying to fit more computers on the counters so more customers can squeeze in.

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post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

While Apple's getting some good ideas from Microsoft, here's hoping they copy Windows' system-wide use of the HOME and END keys (and other related keys):

[snip]

Windows has these very useful text navigation keyboard shortcuts at the system level, so no matter what program you're using, they act the same (unless the app has a specific reason to change them). It's really handy. (And surprising -- for the most part Apple's keyboard shortcuts and mnemonics have always been more consistent and common-sense than Windows. Except for these simple text navigation keys.)

Actually, OS X apps already have this functionality, but the commands are as follows:

Command+Left Arrow: Move to the beginning of the line
Command+Right Arrow: Move to the end of the line

Home: Top of document
End: End of document

Option+Left Arrow/Option+Right Arrow: Move by word

Option+Up Arrow: Move to beginning of paragraph
Option+Down Arrow: Move to end of paragraph

Note that Microsoft's OS X apps, of course, do their own thing and ignore these rules--making the keyboard shortcuts more like Windows (Home/End goes to the beginning/end of line, etc.)--making it frustrating when every other app I use uses the "correct" Mac conventions.
post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is great news for Apple Insider staff. Now you can just write "Apple" and have "the Cupertino-based company" automatically inserted. hehe

Actually it should be type "Apple" and get "the Cupertino-based ______-maker" automatically inserted.

If the article is about iPods, they use "Cupertino-based iPod-maker," and so on.
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

no home or end keys, no right delete key, no page up or down, and inconvenient smaller arrow keys

I can just about touch type the arrow keys (incl. combinations with fn to give you home, ie, beginning of the document, etc.) on the Mac notebook keyboards (and presumably also on the compact external ones, I have not tried it). Try that with a standard keyboard, ie, using home, delete and the arrow keys without looking at the keyboard, much harder to do.
post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by uniqueness-template View Post

Home: Top of document
End: End of document

Also note that on the compact (no numpad) keyboards--and Apple laptops--you just hold Fn to get the "missing" keys (which used to be better marked):

Fn-LEFT = Home
Fn-RIGHT = End
Fn-UP = PgUp
Fn-DOWN = PdDown
Fn-Delete = Right-Delete
Fn-Return = Numpad Enter

(I've always thought Fn-number-key should give you the Numpad number instead, but I don't think it does. A few apps use the numpad for shortcuts, which are then missing on laptops.)
post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Sounds good, but Apple has gone the other way - they don't want to give you a full size keyboard.

I love Apple hardware, but I have to say their input devices are junk. If you are going to do any real work on a Mac, the first thing you need to do is get a good two-button scroll mouse and full-size (preferably ergonomic) keyboard.
post #22 of 53
iWork apps already do the substitutions you describe. In Tiger. So this really isn't "new" for Apple per-say, just "new" at the system level.

post #23 of 53
I'll do you one better. This is a screenshot of the AutoCorrect dialog in Word 2008



Image from http://www.mactricksandtips.com/2008...rs-into-2.html
post #24 of 53
I think I'll stick with Typinator.
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post #25 of 53
Oh dear, TeckStud isn't going to like this thread. \
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post

Actually it should be type "Apple" and get "the Cupertino-based ______-maker" automatically inserted.

If the article is about iPods, they use "Cupertino-based iPod-maker," and so on.

ATTENTION MODS. THESE POSTERS KNOW TOO MUCH. CODE BLACK. CODE BLACK.

You AppleInsiderInsiders are cracking me up. I don't know how you got a copy of the super secret AppleInsider Development Guide, typically kept under lock and key at Slash Lane's underground fortified bunker buried deep beneath the streets of Cupertino, to which only Katie Marsal has the other key, but I demand you destroy it immediately.

I've acquired special clearance to release an excerpt. Quoting from page 1056 of that super secret manual, printed right before the entry on Steve Ballmer: "Apple, Mac maker, iPod maker, iPhone maker, definitely-not-a-tablet maker, Cupertino-based company, the one with the fruity nomenclature, big cat tamer, Redmond frustrater, Gates' family's forbidden fruit, the palace at 1 Infinite Loop, that place where that one Jobs guy works..." Already I've said too much.

If you have some new, non-ridiculous ideas on how to avoid saying "Apple" a trillion times in each story, I'll take them under advisement.
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post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post

Actually it should be type "Apple" and get "the Cupertino-based ______-maker" automatically inserted.

If the article is about iPods, they use "Cupertino-based iPod-maker," and so on.

I knew I was missing something, but I think the joke worked anyway.
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post #28 of 53
In my Win 95 days, I had MS Works. It would by default, auto-correct spelling and auto-cap the first letter after punctuation. Sometimes it would assume incorrectly and it was almost impossible to fix. As long as this stuff can be turned off. As long as Apple is making improvements like these, how about a new voice to match the quality of Alex!!! Also, more keystroke shortcuts. With the creation of Voice Over, Apple has made things better. It is still too mouse driven. In my Windows days, I could function without a mouse, except for the web. I miss that.
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post

Actually it should be type "Apple" and get "the Cupertino-based ______-maker" automatically inserted.

Applee = "the Cupertino-based electronics company"
Applei = "the Cupertino-based iphone-maker"

But seriously 'auto correct', or 'auto complete' can be a mixed blessing. A right click in the middle of the text should give the option to turn it off. I wonder where the menu in the article appears. In the days when Microsoft used to assume they knew what you wanted to write or how you wanted to capitalize etc. when using Word I was continuously helping people turn the feature off.
post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachSpear View Post

ATTENTION MODS. THESE POSTERS KNOW TOO MUCH. CODE BLACK. CODE BLACK

Also know as "the opposite-of-white-based AI-code."

(Too abstract?)


Quote:
If you have some new, non-ridiculous ideas on how to avoid saying "Apple" a trillion times in each story, I'll take them under advisement.

I quite like the inclusions, but I know it seem to bother some people.
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post #31 of 53
This would be a useful feature for us old fogeys to be able to communicate with under-16s. There would have to be a command-alt-control-8 equivalent, whereby you type in the word correctly, and it would be translated into a form readable by the text generation For example type in Great! See you tonight! and it would automatically translate into gr8 c u tnt. Ah language is a wonderful thing indeed!
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha
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post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Also know as "the opposite-of-white-based AI-code."

(Too abstract?)

Code White = New Shiny Stuff!
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post #33 of 53
Data Director would be very useful IMHO.

& As usual, MSFT will probably follow up.
post #34 of 53
It would be great if Apple allowed users to switch text tool languages ON and OFF depending on the language of documents that users are working on.

Many users have to speak, read and write more than one language, especially for work or study, so that the possibility to use text tools in different languages is important.


post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by CU10 View Post

Data Director would be very useful IMHO.

& As usual, MSFT will probably follow up.

Apple Data Detectors *were* very useful, back in MacOS 9. They, along with Put Back, didn't make the transition to MacOS X. MSFT has had plenty of time to copy it.

In fact, ADD has been one of my most-missed techs from the Classic days, so I'm thrilled to see it coming back into play. It, combined with Services, offers an entirely different classification of data manipulation by the user.
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post #36 of 53
Data Detectors?

We had this crap in Openstep, internally at NeXT.
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachSpear View Post

If you have some new, non-ridiculous ideas on how to avoid saying "Apple" a trillion times in each story, I'll take them under advisement.

I am definitely guilty of whining about the use of the terms "the Cupertino based... etc". It is pathetic, I guess, and clearly I have too much time on my hands (actually, I am just King of the Procrastinators), but I don't actually see what is wrong with saying Apple a trillion times. I guess 'the company' would reduce that number to 500 000 000 000, which is a start. Personally I would prefer the Mac maker, or the iPhone maker to the 'Cupertino based...' which seems convoluted and and long winded. There is also plenty scope for removing the name altogether from a sentence. But I once promised not to complain about this anymore so I'm not complaining. I'm just sayin'.
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Yeah, no doubt. What if you intentionally wanted to spell something wrong or didn't want the first letter of a sentence capitalized? How would you override that without having to go back and forth to the preferences?

On iPhone the correction is forced on you, and you have to take action to avoid it. This is opposite to how everyone else implements it (Apple really has to think different), where correction is offered to you to choose if you want to.

If they implement it like this in OS X as well, then it will be quite useless and turned off in my case at least.

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post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

While Apple's getting some good ideas from Microsoft, here's hoping they copy Windows' system-wide use of the HOME and END keys (and other related keys): [substituting Command for Control]

HOME - move to the beginning of the line
END - move to the end of the line

CMD+HOME - Top of document
CMD+END - End of document

CMD+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW - Move by word

CMD+UP/DOWN ARROW - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Paragraph

CMD+PAGE UP/PAGE DOWN - Move to beginning of Previous/Next Page

(and for those with crippled/laptop keyboards:
OPTION+HOME/END: Top/End of document
OPTION+LEFT/RIGHT: Beginning/End of Line
OPTION+UP/DOWN: Beginning of Previous/Next Page

Windows has these very useful text navigation keyboard shortcuts at the system level, so no matter what program you're using, they act the same (unless the app has a specific reason to change them). It's really handy. (And surprising -- for the most part Apple's keyboard shortcuts and mnemonics have always been more consistent and common-sense than Windows. Except for these simple text navigation keys.)

Or even better offer vi style navigation and editing where ever one can navigate or edit text. Now that would be something worth talking about.

Of course emacs mode should work (and to some extent already does) for people who prefer it. And of course the plain stupid current way for people who don't know better .

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post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I am definitely guilty of whining about the use of the terms "the Cupertino based... etc". It is pathetic, I guess, and clearly I have too much time on my hands (actually, I am just King of the Procrastinators), but I don't actually see what is wrong with saying Apple a trillion times. I guess 'the company' would reduce that number to 500 000 000 000, which is a start. Personally I would prefer the Mac maker, or the iPhone maker to the 'Cupertino based...' which seems convoluted and and long winded. There is also plenty scope for removing the name altogether from a sentence. But I once promised not to complain about this anymore so I'm not complaining. I'm just sayin'.

Yes, this is a dilemma that has troubled journalists for centuries. (Have journalists been around for that long? Do pamphleteers count? Great. Moving on.) The problem with using Apple over and over again is that everyone reads words in their head differently. Some people don't like how "the Cupertino-based company" sounds, while others don't even notice it. Some people hear "Apple" too many times and they start to go insane. That said, I'm always trying to find a good balance. It's pretty hard to keep using the same word, Apple, or words like "It" or "the company" over and over though. I'll keep your comments in mind as this is something I'm always thinking about.
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