I'd been exploring alternate ways to color code (to see things beyond syntax; again, more on this later) when my kid asked, "could you do this for words to help people read difficult things?" so I said sure, let's try it. RainbowEdit is the end result.

It's a web-based text editor that lets you color groups of words.

Current state

New feature: Inline comments! If you want to add notes to your text that will be ignored by the text coloring, just type // , a space, and your comment. Press return to end the comment.

Now with inline comments!

There hasn't been a lot of user testing yet, so there may be bugs. Let us know. New features are also being considered based on user feedback.

In progress:

  • allowing tabs so you can write pseudocode (works but we're fixing bugs)
  • some way to share/keep what you're working on (live but being tested)
  • integrated single-word translation tools (looking at ReadLang but also considering simply custom notes for individual words)

Ping me @spongeprojects on Instagram if you have thoughts on this.

How it works

  • Click on edit text
  • Paste or write in some paragraphs of text
  • Click on edit color to switch to color mode
  • Choose a color, click on a word or two (note that if the same word exists elsewhere in the text, that word gets the same color)
  • To see lists of words in a particular color, click on the top right menu icon to see and edit them

Bonus features:

  • Chinese word segmentation! Paste in Chinese text and RainbowEdit knows which characters are words on their own and which belong to a set of characters that form a word together.
Now with Chinese in segments!

What you can do with it

Ok, that's a bit random--what is this, a synesthesia tool? What's the point?

Dyslexia/reading aid

Some people are terrified of reading. My kid suggested the following to help people see that "friendly words" were ahead:

  • Paste in scary big block of text
  • Scan for and color friendly, easy words in blue or green
  • Color slightly difficult words yellow
  • Color terrifying words red
  • When you're done, use the word lists to study the slightly difficult words so they'll be easier next time
  • Use the same word lists for the next document you want to read, so it'll autocolor it for you

Studying foreign languages

  • Paste in an article, story or song lyrics in the language you're trying to learn
  • Color all easy words blue, names green, hard words yellow, etc
  • Use the lists to study with
  • New documents will autocolor with the words in your lists

Studying foreign languages, addendum

  • color code the grammar(manually) so you can ignore articles and other small grammatical details and focus instead on new verbs, nouns and adjectives
  • click words "on" and "off" to find common words you should probably know

Analyzing rap and poetry

  • color words by rhyming groups
Lose Yourself - Eminem

Examine complex texts

  • color key words in a legal document
Treaty of Waitangi, controversial words in red, references to various parties in yellow

Other uses

If you think of more, let me know!