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Using the Google APIs to Spell Check

by Jeremy Ehrmann

Overview

The Developers at Google have been kind enough to offer a web API for developers using the SOAP protocol. When you do a search using Google, you may have noticed that you are prompted with possible alternatives to any words you may have misspelled.

The Google web API "spell check" allows you to send a string of text and receive alternatives for misspelled words. The power in this web API is that the Google dictionary includes technology words that are used in website searches, but may not have been included in a Standard English dictionary.

Setup

Setting up the Google SDK on your server is as simple as downloading the API from http://www.google.com/apis/. You'll need to register with the website which will give you your own key. You'll need the key for Google to accept SOAP connections from your server.

There are some limitations to be mentioned as well. The Google web API allows 10 words to be sent at a time and a limit of 1000 connections per key per day. The following script works around the 10 word limit, however is still limited by the 1000 connections.

The Code

<%
'SEARCH ENGINE using GOOGLE API for RLC search engine
'Define Variables for Script
Dim objSoapClient, results
Dim googleAPIKey
Dim xmldocument
Dim xsldocument
Dim estimatedTotalResultsCount
Dim endIndex, startIndex
Dim searchQuery
Dim i 'as loop counter
'Instantiate the application variable for the GoogleAPI
application("googleSearchNumber") = application("googleSearchNumber") + 1
'Set the Google API Key you received when registering.
googleAPIKey = "00000000000000000000000000000000"
'Set the string to send to Google for spell checking
query = "The Lazy Bron Dog Jumpd Over The Fnce"
'Need to make an array with blocks of 10 words because the
'Google API will only accept the first 10 words of a string.
Dim arrTemp
Dim strTemp
Dim wordCount
Dim ArrayLength
Dim dicWords
i = 0
arrTemp = Split(query," ")
set dicWords = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
wordCount = 1
'Google only allows up to 10 words at a time. Must make it 10 word strings.
If UBound(arrTemp) < 10 Then
  dicWords.Add i, query
Else
  For each Item in arrTemp
    IF UBound(arrTemp) < 10 Then
      dicWords.Add i, query
    Else
      If wordCount = 10 Then
        dicWords.Add i, strTemp
        wordCount = 1
        i = i + 1
        strTemp = Item & " "
      Else
        wordCount = wordCount + 1
        strTemp = strTemp & Item & " "
      End If
    End If
  Next
  'Get any left overs
  IF strTemp <> "" Then
    dicWords.Add i, strTemp
    'response.write "Aux: " & strTemp & ":" & i & "<BR>"
  End If
End If
strTemp = ""
' set up a Soap Client object from MS Soap
set objSoapClient = Server.CreateObject("MSSOAP.SoapClient30")
' set up an XML document
set xmldocument = server.CreateObject("MSXML2.DOMDocument.4.0")
' set up an xsldocument
set xsldocument = server.CreateObject("MSXML2.DOMDocument.4.0")
' load the style sheet
'xsldocument.load(Server.MapPath("search.xsl"))
' initialise the SOAP object with the WSDL file from Google.
objSoapClient.mssoapinit Server.MapPath("GoogleSearch.wsdl")
'If you need to, set proxy settings here; Otherwise, comment out this line.
'objSoapClient.ConnectorProperty("ProxyServer") = "my.proxy.com:8000"
' Call the Google API search. This can only be done 1000 times a day
For i = 0 to UBound(dicWords.Items)
  Results = objSoapClient.doSpellingSuggestion(googleAPIKey, dicWords.Item(i))
  If Results = "" Then
    strResults = strResults & dicWords.Item(i)
  Else
    strResults = strResults & Results
  End If
Next
'Display the alternative String, if any.
response.write strResults
%>
Note: If the script gives you an error about not being able to create the MSSOAP.SoapClient30 object (on line 66 or so) you may not have the SOAP Toolkit 3.0 installed. It's a free download and doesn't even require a reboot. Everything else you need (WSDL file, etc.) you'll find in the API you downloaded from http://www.google.com/apis/.

Conclusion

Although limitations exist in the Google web API, it makes a pretty handy spell check for small sites or intranet applications. The dictionary and algorithm are all stored off site so you won't need to update word lists. The best part is that technology words are corrected as well, For Example: Google is an error in English, however the web API sees this as a legitimate word.

Good Luck!
Jeremy (aka gigamanx)

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