I'd been exploring alternate ways to color code (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.

UPDATE: An experiment with this applied to code: RainbowIDE

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

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 (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:

  • Inline comments. 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.
Inline comments!
  • Notes. Click on words in notes mode to add notes to them. The note will appear beside the word in the Notes word list, or if you click on an underlined word in Notes mode.
Words with notes are underlined in yellow in Notes mode. Tap any word to add a note.
Notes appear in the Notes word list
  • 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.
Chinese in segments!
  • Tabs. So you can write pseudocode, poetry, etc.
  • Save your work and share it with others. Tap the hamburger menu top right, and click "save or share". This url stores a snapshot of whatever text and hilighted words or notes you have right now. If you share it with someone, they can access and modify a copy of this snapshot. If you make a change it won't be saved until you click "save" again. The changed version will have a new url.
Click this to save a snapshot of your work!

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!