Code-like linting for prose


I’m a big fan of static analysis and linting for code.

If a computer can do it automatically - why rely on humans to do the same thing?

That’s one of the reasons why I’m such a big proponent of static typing.

I try to bring linting everywhere:

And of course I use existing open-source linters whenever possible.

Anyway, I was intrigued when I read about Vale in recent issue of excellent Golang Weekly newsletter.

The idea of bringing code-like linting to prose definitely sounds very appealing, and the tool being syntax-aware and written in Go added to the excitement.

I tried it with both of my blogs (first the Scale Models, then this) and with some configuration tweaking it’s just what I need!

It works just as it should - tons of independent lint rules, with flexible configuration. And the fact that it is syntax aware is great - no weird issues just because I’m using Markdown.

Static text-based config and rule sets are designed to be a part of the repo, which makes it so natural to enable advanced auto checks that don’t depend on the environment. I totally see why Vale is already used by so many big projects to lint documentation, and I didn’t even start to write custom rules.

You may wonder why I was happy to see it written in Go? Because it promises speed! I’d be equally happy to see Rust or C/C++ there. And that’s because I had already experimented with Python-based proselint some time ago, and it’s just so slow…

Just some numbers to contemplate: running proselint on all posts in this blog takes crazy 50 seconds. Vale has more checks (including all of the proselint rules), but running it on the same content takes mere 1.5 seconds. Why does it matter? Because I wanted it to be a part of pre-push checks, and also integrate in my text editor, and fast tool make all the difference to one’s productivity.

So far I’m really glad I started to use Vale, and honestly a bit embarrassed that I didn’t think about something like this before, given my long standing love for linting.

Tags: Vale Blog

Categories: Personal IT