Spell checkers have found their way from word processors, email clients, and now, to chat clients. Maybe this is a sign of chatting reaching the mainstream audience, I don't know. In any case there is now a first implementation of spell-as-you-type function in Coccinella using the ispell or aspell command line tools.
I have no idea of how Firefox implements spell checking, but they have a nice feature for downloading extra dictionaries. Just right click a text field and select "Languages > Add dictionaries..." to take you to their web site. As a first attempt I have added the usual spell-as-you-type checking, popup menu to get suggestions to replace word, selection of dictionaries, and possibility to add a word to current dictionary. All is implemented using the "pipe" mode of ispell and aspell. It works on all platforms. I have some remaining questions regarding encoding issues, but else things are working.
It may seem like a simple task to implement spell-as-you-type but there are a number of situations to take care off. First, since spell checking can be expensive we don't want to check unnecessarily. Second, a word must be checked when we can assume we have finished typing it, or if we are editing it. Simple as it may sound, difficult to make ad-hoc rules that cover all situations. This issue can be traced at our tracker.