Review Of After The Deadline

afterthedeadlinelogoRecently, Matt Mullenweg announced Automattics latest acquisition, a company called After The Deadline. After The Deadline is a service that uses artificial intelligence to find writing errors and offer smart suggestions. In a nutshell, it takes your usual spell checker to the next level. I find it ironic that just two weeks prior to the acquisition, Matt Mullenweg was asked the following question in preparation for his interview on the SitePoint Podcast. “WordPress is world-renowned for blogging. If you were to start another project, along the same lines as WordPress but not to do with blogging, what would it be?” His answer: Synchronization, or some sort of contextual text analysis for grammar and spell-checking. Maybe something with anti-spam again like Akismet. I have no idea if this was a hint out in the open of the oncoming acquisition or if this was an honest answer by Matt and After The Deadline just happened to be a coincidence. Whatever the case, here is my experience with the plugin/service so far.

In order to use the service on a self hosted WordPress installation, you’ll need to head on over to the After The Deadline website, register for an account,  copy the API key and paste that into the appropriate field when configuring the ATD plugin, just like Akismet. The service will not work unless you plug in the API Keys.

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Once the plugin is installed, you’ll see the spell check icon in the visual editor change to show ABC plus a green checkmark. Clicking on this icon will initiate the ATD check. The check consists of grammar (Green Underline), misused words (Red Underline), and style (Blue Underline).

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It’s been really nice to be able to click on a word that’s supposedly been used wrong and have an explanation on the words proper usage supplied. Also nice to have suggestions. So not only do writers get to correct their mistakes, they get the chance to figure out why it was a mistake. I suggest running the ATD check when you’re finished writing the post as words that are marked as ignore will show up with a red underline on any subsequent checks. The coolest thing about After The Deadline is that thanks to its implementation on WordPress.com, there are now millions of words for which ATD can use to help refine the various algorithms and contextual analysis meaning the service will only continue to improve.

Overall, I’ve used ATD for a few of the posts here on WPTavern and have been pleased with the results.  The ATD check is not available in the HTML version of the editor so if you have any type of multimedia in your post such as embedded videos, using the visual editor to get access to the ATD button might be a pain. However, I think it’s a small price to pay in return for having presentable content.

If you’re interested in using ATD on your blog, download the plugin from here. Also, congratulations to Raphael Mudge who has a great, inspirational story of how he  ended up in this position.

6 Comments


  1. It would make a lot of sense to enable ATD for comments – increasing the readability of comments will increase the number of people who habitually read them and, therefore, will increase the number of people who get involved in discussions.

    It should also be turned on by default on WordPress.com – what is the point of having this great tool when the vast majority of bloggers won’t even be aware that it is an option?

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  2. I am really happy to hear the news about the acquisition as it is pretty tough to have such software/plugin for WordPress as not all spellchecker is has high level of accuracy as ATD.

    Usually, I have to copy and paste my article first to Microsoft Words to use its spellchecker as I think the software is pretty good but unfortunately the process is pretty tedious though.

    Congrates WordPress and Matt for the latest acquistion.

    Cheers!

    -Huzzer Magazine-

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  3. > After The Deadline is a service that uses artificial intelligence to find writing errors and
    > offer smart suggestions.

    One program that is good is Spell Check Anywhere (SpellCheckAnywhere.Com). It adds spell checking to all programs. Might be of interest. It also has an optional grammar checking.

    While it doesn’t use artificial intelligence it does a very nice job.

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  4. @donnacha | WordSkill – I noticed we go to all the same websites, if we’re ever in the same bar, I’ll purchase a beverage of choice for you. AtD is already enabled for all users on WordPress.com. As for comments, I’ve heard several requests for this (and checking within the HTML editor as well).

    I’m working on improvements to the AtD service right now, but if no one builds this kind of addon first, I’ll take a stab at it with a WP.org plugin in the future.

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  5. @Raphael Mudge – Not sure how easy or practical it will be to include the button to initiate the check for comments but I can certainly see an AtD plugin being created for IntenseDebate which has a plugin system for comments.

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  6. @Raphael Mudge – LOL. What you’re working on is so universally useful that, at this point, everyone in the WP community owes you a hearty drink. If you ever make it over to the UK, I’ll introduce you to a phenomenon known as Talisker single malt :)

    Keep up the good work.

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