inessential by Brent Simmons

Fantastical and language detection

Since Fantastical is all about natural language processing, localization is an especially interesting issue.

With most apps, localization means translating menus and labels into other languages and displaying the right translations based on a user’s language settings. But Fantastical has to go farther: it has to understand what you type.

The first step in understanding what you type is to know what language you typed. The developers could have gone the straightforward route — look at your language settings — but instead they went a step further: Fantastical detects the language based on what you actually typed.

This means your system could be set to French but you could type Spanish text and it will work.

I like this. The best Mac developers have been famous for taking the extra steps. Most people won’t need this — but those who do it will delight.