I’m always worried I’ll have a typo in my blog posts, and I suspected I had a few lying around in these pages. I don’t like that, so I decided to fix it and automate it.
The solution involves:
- The great cSpell tool
- A VS Code Extension,
Code Spell Checker, that gives me cSpell-based checking within the IDE
- A config file to allow for ignoring some words/patterns or adding words to a dictionary
- A GitHub Action to run as part of my pull requests
Installing the Code Spell Checker Extension
In the extensions window, search for
Code Spell Checker and install it (extension ID:
Now, you’ll start getting feedback on what needs fixing when you have a file open. It’s really helpful.
Create a Config File
- Add a
cSpell.jsonfile to the root of your repository to capture words to add to the dictionary. My example cSpell file can be found here
Run As Part of a Build
We’ll utilize GitHub actions for this.
- Create a GitHub Action workflow by creating a file in your repo at
.githubis a folder in this case.)
Add the following, changing the values as they suit you:
name: Housekeeping on: push: branches: - main # Modify if you use a different main branch name, such as the legacy "master" name. pull_request: branches: - main # Modify if you use a different main branch name, such as the legacy "master" name. jobs: spellchecking: runs-on: ubuntu-latest steps: - uses: actions/[email protected] name: Check out the code - uses: actions/[email protected] name: Run spell check with: node-version: "12" - run: npm install -g cspell - run: cspell --config ./cSpell.json "**/*.md"
What’s is this GitHub Action file doing?
- It runs on any main branch commit or any PR against my main branch
- It runs the GitHub action on an Ubuntu instance
- It checks out all my code for the blog, which includes all the markdown files
- It pulls a Docker container that is published to Docker Hub, which has been set up by someone else to set up Node (thanks, people who care about OSS!)
- It runs a command to install cSpell globally within the container
- It runs cSpell in the container on all my markdown files, using my config file. When it finds an error, it returns a non-zero exit code, which fails the build.
Once I committed this file to a PR, I saw the checking begin.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
The first time I enabled this with a PR, I got a lot of failures, as one might expect. I kept making small commits over time and eventually I got there. I ran
cspell --config ./cSpell.json "**/*.md" from my terminal as I went and kept making changes until the issues dropped to zero.
Now, I get local spell-check support within VS Code and build time support via GitHub Actions. For free! 1.
By free, I mean thanks to someone else’s very hard work that they are often under-compensated and under-supported for. Go look into contributing to open source projects, or consider donating to an author or group that has enabled you to work better. ↩