WordPress 2.x Spell checker Error “could not execute AJAXcall, server didn’t return valid a xml” How to fix

August 5, 2007

I was having a hell of a time getting the spellchecker in WordPress 2.2.2 to work properly and could not find a solution online anywhere so I decided to post what worked for me.  Two hours of searching online resulted in nothing so when all else fails you are left to your own devices.  To preface this post I am using IIS6 and PHP5.  Everytime you click the spell check icon you get the error “could not execute AJAXcall, server didn’t return valid a xml” .

How to fix this error on a win32 box:

  1. Crack open your php.ini file and uncomment extension = php_pspell.dll, and make sure it actually exists in your ext/ dir.
  2. Download the aspell installer from aspell.net (win32 version) and the dictionary installer (en)
  3. Now the funny thing is the win32 installer files appear to have inccorrect linefeeds so when you run the spell checker after install it still blows up but with a new error like “iso8859-1 is not in the proper format”. I downloaded the source files via ftp and manually replaced them in the aspell directory.  FTP link , (version aspell-w32-0.50.3)
  4. If your php path is in system32/ you need to copy the .dll files there from the aspell/bin/ dir.
  5. Finally you need to actually configure your spellchecker within WordPress 2.2.x, open the file “wordpresswp-includesjstinymcepluginsspellcheckerconfig.php” and comment out the Google spell checker that appears not to work at all, and those who have it working have a sweet delayed response time. Next uncomment this line: “require_once(“classes/TinyPspell.class.php”); // Internal PHP version”
  6. Don’t forget to turn on the spell check in the first place in config.php “$spellCheckerConfig[‘enabled’] = true;”
  7. Restart IIS
  8. Enjoy tested and it is now working in IE7 and Firefox 2.X

Between the incorrect format of the aspell install files and the weak online support for this Ajax error, it was a solution found through trial and error.  Not bagging WordPress, free is free, and it is a killer app which is worth the debug time.  Hope this helps other frustrated hosting providers, not that it isn’t a good use of 3hours on a sunday.  For more web site design tips visit our blog.