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Is Spell Catcher X 10.2.3 Compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)?

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But do yourself a favor and upgrade to Spell Catcher X 10.3. This may or may not be a free upgrade for you, more information is available elsewhere on our site. A good place to start is our Downloads page. Best to read about eligibility, requirements, and what's new first, then download (shortly) afterwards!

All of the issues below become non-issues with Spell Catcher X 10.3.

For Those that Don't or Won't Upgrade to Spell Catcher X 10.3

Spell Catcher X 10.2.3 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). There are some issues that you should be aware of (listed below). If you follow the advice given for each, you should be able to use Spell Catcher as always, without sacrificing any of the features you are accustomed to or require.

That said, we are working on a major upgrade to Spell Catcher X that will take advantage of many new-in-Leopard technologies, and offer a slew of new features for both Tiger and Leopard users. Sorry, it's too early to give a release date, however beta testing has (recently) begun.

First things first: Make sure you are using Spell Catcher X 10.2.3! You can always get the latest installer from our Downloads page.

Known Issues

  • The way Mac OS X locates applications that provide services (via the Services menu, or other services such as those used by the system-wide spelling service) has changed in Leopard. Because of this change (debatably a bug), the Spell Catcher application will not be automatically launched by the Mac OS when one of the services it provides is requested. This leads to timeouts, followed by alerts such as "Can't contact spell checker" (note that the alert says "checker" - not "Catcher" - as it is a generic alert), or "The "whatever" service could not be used because the "provider-of-whatever" application did not respond to a request for services". Here's an example of this alert:

    Service Error
    (Seems that Apple was bitten by this one as well)

    If the Spell Catcher application is open when one of its services is requested, you won't run into this problem. Generally speaking, if you're using Spell Catcher's input method, the application will be open. For those that don't use interactive checking, or open the Spell Catcher application only as-needed, we have a 100% effective solution.

    Attached to this article is an updated version of the Spell Catcher Services.service application, normally found in your home ~/Library/Services folder.

    1. Download and expand the "Spell_Catcher_Services.service.zip" attachment (scroll down to the end this article).
    2. Quit the Spell Catcher application if it's currently open.
    3. Navigate to your home Library/Services folder, copy the new Spell Catcher Services.service application over the existing one.
    4. Launch the Spell Catcher application - a one-time modification to the new Spell Catcher Services.service application must be performed.

    Now the Spell Catcher application should automatically launch when one of its services is requested, the timeout errors will no longer occur.

  • Another Services-related problem (this one is definitely a Leopard regression) can affect all services (not just Spell Catcher's) that are able to operate on more than one format of text. Spell Catcher's Check Selection and Modify Selection services can take plain text, rich text (RTF) or rich text with attachments (RTFD). The richest representation that the application provides is used in order to best preserve formatting. In Mac OS X 10.5 (I suspect this one will get fixed in a system update as it's quite nasty), only the first format in the list of the acceptable formats provided by the application is actually provided. So if the application can handle rich text, but the first format in its list is plain text, then it will only get plain text! Order has never mattered in any previous version of Mac OS X.

    Apple's TextEdit application won't exhibit any problems with its "New Window Containing Selection" service. Luckily, it lists formats in richest-to-plainest order.

    On the other hand, Apple's Stickies application lists formats in plainest-to-richest order. So if you choose Services > Make New Sticky Note on a selection of text with styles or embedded images, they won't appear in the new note - you'll only get plain text.

    Unfortunately (at least for now, until this bug gets fixed) Spell Catcher's services don't list formats in richest-to-plainest order. So using a Modify Selection or Spell Catcher service from the Services menu will return you a plain text result. Fortunately, there are two other ways to perform a Spell Catcher service, and neither are affected by this problem. So for now, if you are operating on rich or styled text selections, you should choose the Modify Selection service from either Spell Catcher's input menu, or from the Spell Catcher application's Dock Menu. Send feedback to Apple that you want this one fixed!

  • This one's a bummer. So close...just not quite right yet. Many problems related to support for input methods in WebKit (used for composing messages in Mail, used for forms in Safari, used for text in Dashboard widgets) have been addressed, implemented and fixed in Leopard. I credit Spell Catcher owners for voting for these bugs to be fixed on WebKit's open source site! However, there's one problem with the way that direct replacement of text from an input method works (at this point in time, I suspect it will get fixed) that causes nasty things to happen - at least with Spell Catcher X 10.2.3. The symptoms are generally that the replacement text is inserted (not necessarily replaced), and then followed by what usually appears to be underlined Chinese-looking garbage Unicode characters. You don't really need to know the gory details (I only figured out what was really going on within the last 24 hours), but there is a 100% effective solution for this one as well. Maybe not a 100% optimal solution, but 100% effective.

    Anyway, for now, with Spell Catcher X 10.2.3 on Mac OS X 10.5, you still have to turn off the Interactive preference to "Make replacements directly without backspacing". The same may applies to Safari and Dashboard widgets. Same applies for Pages (same problem, different text editing engine, though). The reason you still have to turn off direct replacements is entirely different from the reason it was necessary on Tiger. I do have a work-around that will appear in the upcoming upgrade to Spell Catcher X. Sigh.

  • There are a couple of issues with the Suggest Spelling window, specifically with the editable text (Use:) field. Apple made a pretty low-level, fundamental change to the way input methods interact with background applications. I reported that this was a very nasty change, and Apple did provide me with a semi-effective work around for Leopard. This work-around will be in the upcoming upgrade I'm working on.

    Unfortunately (at least for now with Spell Catcher X 10.2.3 on Leopard) it's advisable to stay away from using the editable text (Use:) field in the Suggest Spelling window. In fact, it's probably best to avoid making the Suggest Spelling window the key window at all (clicking in the Use: text field or the title bar will do this). I'd recommend making sure that the "Keystrokes go to the Suggest Spelling window" preference is OFF (Spell Catcher preferences, Interactive pane, Spelling tab, Suggest Spelling window tab).

Input Menu Troubles

We are hearing from some customers about difficulties getting Spell Catcher's input method to activate, or even appear in International System Prefs. So far, most have been solved by trashing the preference file that contains your input menu configuration, restarting and then configuring it manually from scratch. To do this, navigate to your home ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost folder, trash all the files named like "com.apple.HIToolbox.#####.plist". Restart immediately. Empty the Trash once you're logged in again. Open System Preferences, International, Input Menu tab, and configure things manually.

Others report that simply toggling an input source on and off (any input source) is all that was needed to get things working properly. This makes sense as the above-mentioned preference file likely gets re-written to disk, and (hopefully) in the process any old or otherwise invalid contents or entries would be removed.

What often works is to navigate to home ~/Library/Components in the Finder, drag the Spell Catcher.component out to the Desktop, then drag it back into the Components folder, then Restart right away. This seems to get the system to "notice" the component, and that the Text Services and Component caches need to be rebuilt the next time the system starts up.

A recent posting in our forums from a customer that was having trouble in this area discovered that moving the Spell Catcher.component out of his home ~/Library/Components folder into the (top-level) /Library/Components folder was an effective solution. You'll need administrator privileges to do this, but it's worth a try if you can't find another solution.

For a few customers, the reasons they are having trouble with the input menu or input method are far more severe. I've seen two cases where incompatible-with-Leopard software is loading early (at system startup) or as a plug-in, causing all sorts of havoc. Be sure to check all your migrated-over Extensions, StartupItems, Frameworks, Components, Contextual Menu Items, PreferencePanes, ScriptingAdditions and the like. If you're seeing serious problems, clues usually appear in the Console log (/Applications/Utilities/Console).

Upgrading to Leopard

If you perform an upgrade install, be aware that the Spell Catcher.component (input method, the item that appears in the Input Menu tab of International System Preferences, required for interactive checking) should be copied from your previous home folder, but will not be activated by default. You'll likely have to choose Spell Catcher from the input menu one time yourself. If, after upgrading to Leopard, you don't see Spell Catcher in the list of Input Menu items in International System Preferences, check to see that the Spell Catcher.component file exists in your home ~/Library/Components directory. If it doesn't exist, visit Spell Catcher's Interactive Preferences - there will be a button there you can click to install it. More about activating Spell Catcher's input method can be found in this FAQ.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to download the Spell_Catcher_Services.service.zip attachment below if you aren't using Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)


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