After the Deadline - Proofreading for the Web


After the Deadline is a software service that checks the spelling, style, and grammar of documents submitted to it. It uses AI (neural networks, NLP) and context to provide accurate spelling suggestions, detect misused homophones, and avoid grammar/style suggestions that make no sense.

The back-end is written in Sleep and hosted on Moconti. AtD is the product of an extensive lit review of NLP techniques and my self-directed research into the topic.

After the Deadline has front-end support for TinyMCE, CKEditor, and jQuery. We've used these components to add this technology to WordPress, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

After the Deadline processes well over a million documents each week.


I started in July 08 with My goal was to make a free style checker for the web. Style checking software takes correct writing and cleans it up. didn't get very far but it received good feedback from those who tried it.

In Sept 08, I decided to work on making my style checker into a plugin for various web applications. My vision was to bring this technology where people are writing (what a novel concept). I worked part-time on it while finishing my graduate degree.

After the Deadline was a full-time effort from Jan 09 - July 09. During this time I worked on using neural networks to make a smarter spell checker, using language models to find exceptions to grammar and style rules, and detecting misused words.

I was approached by Automattic in July 09. We made a deal where they bought the After the Deadline IP and I came to join them as a full-time engineer to continue my work on After the Deadline.

Since joining Automattic I've optimized the service for speed (it's very fast), made the system smarter by introducing more data, improved the misused homophone detection using trigrams, spoken at several events and conferences, open sourced the back-end, and worked on adding more languages to AtD. Somewhere in here I also did a lot of work on the front-end components as well.



Quick Talks

Introduction at WordCamp SF (May 10)

Demonstration at WordCamp NYC (Nov 09)

Technical Talks

The Design of a Proofreading Software Service, CL&W Workshop at NAACL HLT (Jun 10)

Technical Talk on AtD at Washington, DC PHP Meetup (Dec 09)

After the Deadline (AtD) from Shaun Farrell on Vimeo.

Product Screencasts

AtD for (my favorite screencast)

AtD for Firefox

AtD for Google Chrome


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