Despite my online nom de guerre, I am what you might call grammatically anal. I don't like ending sentences with prepositions, avoid misplaced modifiers and shy away from run-on sentences. Before y'all go proofreading my previous posts, I will also fight my instincts pretty often to avoid sounding too much like my high school English teacher. Gotta keep this har intry-net blog thingy conversashunal, after all. And besides, if you start speaking strict Queen's English, you kinda sound like the kind of dork that would receive regular beatings in high school. Still, I hate trolling through old entries and finding glaring errors because I think I'm also a little obsessive compulsive and I don't like receiving the same post twice in my RSS aggregator.

So what does this have to do with coding? (Oh man, and I HATE reading posts/essays/whatever that ask questions then proceed to answer them.) I was looking through what is essentially a string table for Livelink listing all the error messages and pieces of text for a particular module. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, screams "I am too &*#$ lazy to check my work" than seeing spelling mistakes or obvious grammatical errors in a resource file. I won't single out anything in Livelink because it's not the only culprit by any stretch.

Seriously, how hard is it to scan a line of text before you press Enter? Especially one embedded in a piece of software that companies may pay tens of thousands of dollars for (ummm...I mean, for which companies may pay tens of thousands of dollars). I've seen my share of misspelled variable names in code which I cringe at a little but let pass because very few people will see them. Having a label's text set to "You will definately get an answer today" (to use one of my "favorite" pet peeves) just makes me lose any confidence in the vendor altogether.

The same applies to obvious grammatical errors. And to overuse of capitalization which is more subtle. e.g. "Enter a New Code if you wish to update an Old Code". Yes, it's cute to see "All your base are belong to us" in a twenty-year-old video game from Japan because the average user is twelve years old and is skipping over that screen without reading it anyway. But not in a content management application. Not in a commercial word processor. Not even in a piece of freeware if you expect to be taken seriously.

So the moral of the story is: Check EVERY piece of text that a user might potentially see. That doesn't mean running it through a spell-checker. That means reading it, ya lazy ass. Word will not pick up a problem with "What moth were you born in?" whereas I see at least two mistakes there, possibly three.

Incidentally, this is also coming on the heels of my just watching East on the Compass, a movie from Spain whose subtitles could have used another round through the spell-checker. Very good movie, though, and if I have my way, you can see it between December 7 and 10 in Nassau.