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Thread: "Patent Pending?" iA's Militant Stance on Syntax Control in Writer Pro [UPDATED]

  1. #1

    "Patent Pending?" iA's Militant Stance on Syntax Control in Writer Pro [UPDATED]

    Interesting,
    I would imagine any patent would have you be very specific and I believe the mechanism that find the nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc is actually a new API in iOS7.
    Copyright is fairly useless defence for them as very few people would be stupid enough to copy source directly (Google!)
    I cant think of anybody who has done this before in a WP and it is pretty innovative.



  2. #2
    There’s no doubt a great deal of work involved to take the raw information NSLinguisticTagger provides and do all the labeling and highlighting in the app (the developer of Marked calls it “masochistic”).
    But iA never distinguishes the work it did from what iOS/OS X already does. A lay person might assume that iA has developed a proprietary way to parse natural language.



  3. #3
    There is actually not a great deal of work.
    Under iOS 7, this sort of highlighting became relatively simple (see my sample code below. It’s literally Apple’s TextKit demo code, modified slightly).
    Even pre-iOS 7 there were ways to do this that weren’t too bad — definitely far from “masochistic” for a reasonably competent developer.



  4. #4
    I believe this feature is genuinely creative. It’s a clever thing to defocus all except the specified lexical word classes. iA should be commended for coming up with such an interesting feature.
    That said, the claim of four years in development and the overly-aggressive hinting at patents and trademarks feels extremely… wrong. Especially given that the “meat” of the feature is a few calls into Apple’s frameworks.
    For example, I spent an hour a few nights ago building my own implementation of this to see how it worked. It is the Apple TextKit demo, with very slightly modified highlighting, using NSLinguisticTagger to do the heavy lifting. It probably took about 40 minutes of actual coding, and 20 minutes of setting up the Github repo and animated gif.

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