In Aspell there are 5 types of filters:
FilterCharsby decoding the text is some way such as converting an SGML character into its Unicode value.
FilterCharsto make it more suitable for spell checking. These filters generally blank out text which should not be spell checked
FilterCharsby encoding the text in some way such as converting certain Unicode characters to SGML characters.
FilterCharsand convert into a standard format such as iso8859-1 or UTF-8
Which types of filters are used depends on the situation
FilterChar is a struct defined in
common/filter_char.hpp which contains two members, a character,
and a width. Its purpose is to keep track of the width of the
character in the original format. This is important because when a
misspelled word is found the exact location of the word needs to be
returned to the application so that it can highlight it for the user.
For example if the filters translated this:
Mr. foo said "I hate my namme".
Mr. foo said "I hate my namme".
without keeping track of the original width of the characters the application
will likely highlight
as the misspelling because the spell checker will return 25 as the offset
instead of 30.
However with keeping track of the width using
will know that the real position is 30 since the quote is really 6 characters
In particular the text will be annotated something like the following:
1111111111111611111111111111161 Mr. foo said "I hate my namme".
The standard encoder and decoder filters are defined in
common/convert.cpp. There should generally not be any need to
deal with them so they will not be discussed here. The other three
filters, the encoding filter, the true filter, and the
decoding filter, are all defined the exact same way; they are
inherited from the
A new filter basically is added by placing the corresponding loadable object inside a directory reachable by Aspell via filter-path list. Further it is necessary that the corresponding filter description file is located in one of the directories listed by the option-path list.
The name of the loadable object has to conform to the following convention libfiltername-filter.so where filtername stands for the name of the filter which is passed to Aspell by the add-filter option. The same applies to the filter description file which has to conform to the following naming scheme: filtername-filter.opt.
To add a new loadable filter object create a new file.
Basically the file should be a C++ file and end in .cpp. The
file should contain a new filter class inherited from
IndividualFilter and a constructor function called
new_filtertype (see Constructor Function) returning a
new filter object. Further it is necessary to manually generate the
filter description file. Finally the resulting object has to be
turned into a loadable filter object using libtool.
Alternatively a new filter may extend the functionality of an existing
filter. In this case the new filter has to be derived form the
corresponding valid filter class instead of the
All filters are required to inherit from the
class found in indiv_filter.hpp. See that file for more
details and the other filter modules for examples of how it is used.
After the class is created a function must be created which will
return a new filter allocated with
new. The function must have
the following prototype:
C_EXPORT IndividualFilter * new_aspell_filtername_filtertype
Filters are defined in groups where each group contains an encoding filter, a true filter, and a decoding filter (see Filter Overview). Only one of them is required to be defined, however they all need a separate constructor function.
This file contains the description of a filter which is loaded by Aspell immediately when the add-filter option is invoked. If this file is missing Aspell will complain about it. It consists of lines containing comments which must be started by a # character and lines containing key value pairs describing the filter. Each file at least has to contain the following two lines in the given order.
ASPELL >=0.60 DESCRIPTION this is short filter description
The first non blank, non comment line has to contain the keyword
ASPELL followed by the version of Aspell which the filter is
usable with. To denote multiple Aspell versions the version number may
be prefixed by `<', `<=', `=', `>=' or `>.
If the range prefix is omitted `=' is assumed. The
DESCRIPTION of the filter should be under 50, begin in lower
case, and note include any trailing punctuation characters.
DESCRIPTION may be abbreviated by
For each filter feature (see Filter Overview) provided by the corresponding loadable object, the option file has to contain the following line:
filtertype stands for one of
encoder denoting the entire filter type. This line allows
to statically (see Link Filters Static) link the filter into
Aspell if requested by the user or by the system Aspell is built for.
OPTION newoption DESCRIPTION this is a short description of newoption TYPE bool DEFAULT false ENDOPTION
An option is added by a line containing the keyword
followed by the name of the option. If this name is not prefixed by
the name of the filter Aspell will implicitly do that. For the
DESCRIPTION of a filter option the same holds as for the filter
TYPE of the option may be one of
list. If the
bool is assumed. The default value(s) for an option is
DEF) followed by the
TYPE dependent default value. The table Filter Default Values shows the possible values for each
|int||0||any number value
|string||any printable string
|list||any comma separated list of strings
Table 1. Shows the default values Aspell assumes if option
description lacks a
ENDOPTION line may be omitted as it is assumed implicitly
if a line containing
Note The keywords in a filter description file are case insensitive. The above examples use the all uppercase for better distinguishing them from values and comments. Further a filter description may contain blank lines to enhance their readability.
Note An option of
listtype may contain multiple consecutive lines for default values starting with
DEF, to specify numerous default values.
An option always has to be retrieved by a filter using its full qualified name as the following example shows.
filter- allows user to relate option uniquely to the
specific filter when filtername
-newoption ambiguous an
existing option of Aspell. The filtername stands for the
name of the filter the option belongs to and
the name of the option as specified in the corresponding .opt
file (see Filter Description File
See a good book on Unix programming on how to turn the filter source into a loadable object.
A more convenient way recommended, if filter is added to Aspell standard distribution to build a new filter is provided by Aspell's programmers interface for filter. It is provided by the loadable-filter-API.hpp file. Including this file gives access to a collection of macros hiding nasty details about runtime construction of a filter and about filter debugging. Table Interface Macros shows the macros provided by the interface. For details upon the entire macros see loadable-filter-API.hpp. An example on how to use these macros can be found at examples/loadable/ccpp-context.hpp and examples/loadable/ccpp-context.cpp.
|ACTIVATE_ENCODER||M||makes the entire encoding filter callable by Aspell||do not call inside class declaration;
these macros define new_<filtertype> function;
|ACTIVATE_DECODER||M||makes the entire decoding filter callable by Aspell||as above
|ACTIVATE_FILTER||M||makes the entire filter callable by Aspell||as above
|FDEBUGOPEN||D||Initialises the macros for debugging a filter and opens the debug file stream||These macros are only
active if the |
If debugging should go to Aspell standard debugging output (right now
stderr) use empty string constant as filename
|FDEBUGNOTOPEN||D||Same as “FDEBUGOPEN” but only if debug file stream was not opened yet||as above
|FDEBUGCLOSE||D||closes the debugging device opened by “FDEBUGOPEN” and reverts it to “stderr”;||as above
|FDEBUG||D||prints the filename and the line number it occurs||as above
|FDEBUGPRINTF||D||special printf for debugging||as above
Table 2. Shows the macros provided by loadable-filter-API.hpp (M mandatory, D debugging)
Any filter which one day should be added to Aspell has to be built using the developer interface, described in Programmer's Interface. To add the filter the following steps have to be performed: