A predictive text editor written in Java


A little while ago I read where someone wanted to see a "predictive" text editor, one that would try to guess what you were going to type next, and supply that word for you. I decided to see if I could create one using the basic Java JFC/Swing tools. As it turns out it was not too hard to create a simple example, so I'm sharing that here as a sample Java WebStart/JNLP application.

Launching the editor

When you're ready to see the example click on the JNLP link below. If you have WebStart properly installed the little application should download and start on your system.

 Click here to launch the text editor

After the editor is launched it should look like a simple, empty editor, like this:

Using the editor

Next, start typing, or if you don't feel like typing just copy this wonderful text from Abraham Lincoln into the editor:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Thanks to Abraham Lincoln and Wikipedia for this sample text.)

Paste that text into the editor, hit a few carriage returns, and start typing, and see what happens. Try to use the words that Lincoln used, and see how the editor has "learned" these words. If you like the word the editor has chosen just move to the end of the word with the [End] key. If you don't like it just keep typing and you'll overwrite that word -- and other possibilities may appear.

Here's an example where I start to type the word "government":

Note that all I have to do is type the characters "go" and the editor finds the word I want and pastes it into the buffer.

Like it? Hate it? I think it might be fun if I take the next steps to make it easier to use and much more bug-free. The first thing to do would be to replace the [End] key with a better keystroke. It also has about a million bugs, as it's just a demo, intended to show this one feature.

If you like the concept and you're interested in the source code just send an email to the [editor] at [dev daily].