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    Archives for May 2012 (4)
25th May 2012

Prime Minister Follows Parody Darth Vader On Twitter

Twitter screenshotI’m not sure if this is good, bad, cool, uncool or just plain weird. The official Twitter account of the British Prime Minister follows a spoof Darth Vader account!

Well, I suppose Cameron is something of a parody of a Prime Minister anyway, so why not?

20th May 2012

Further to my aside about the Denver Posts’s favicon, I finally got round to making my own. And it looks like theirs. But isn’t.

davepreston - 20th May 2012
15th May 2012

Just noticed the Denver Posts‘s favicon is just like my logo. Well, we do have the same initials. And they were probably around before me. So I won’t sue.

davepreston - 15th May 2012
8th May 2012

Tidying & Formatting Postal Addresses in PHP

A couple of times in the course of my job, I’ve needed to tidy-up user input of postal addresses, usually when importing from an external database into a web application or taking input from a web form. It looks horrible when everything is in upper or lower case.

PHP has strtoupper(), strtolower() and ucasewords() functions, but none of these does just what I needed. Googling found a few attempts to solve the same problem, and I’ve probably pinched bits of code from various places. If I’ve pinched some of yours, let me know and I’ll acknowledge your contribution. Hence the function below.

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<?php
 
function address_tidy($text) {
	$text = trim($text);
	$text = str_replace('\r', '', $text);
	$text = str_replace('\n', '', $text);
	$words = explode(' ', $text);
	foreach ($words as $word) {
		$word = ucfirst(strtolower($word));
		//Specials like Mac, Mc etc
		$specials = array('Mac', 'Mc', 'O\'');
		foreach ($specials as $special) {
			$pos = stripos($word, $special);
			if (($pos !== false) && ($pos == 0)) {
				$parts = explode($special, $word);
				$word = $special . ucfirst($parts[1]);
			}
		}
		//...but not for some words that begin with 'Mac' 
		// (make your own mind up about Macintosh, Maclure & Maclaren)
		$specials = array('macken', 'macclesfield', 'machynlleth');
		if (in_array(strtolower($word), $specials)) {
			$word = ucfirst(strtolower($word));
		}
		//Let's go lower case on some words
		$specials = array('de', 'la', 'le', 'on', 'of', 'and', 'under', 'upon');
		if (in_array(strtolower($word), $specials)) {
			$word = strtolower($word);
		}
	}
	return implode(' ', $words);
}
 
?>

Here’s a quick run-down of what it does when you feed it a string…

Lines 4, 5 & 6 just strip white-space from either end of the string and remove any line breaks and newlines.

Line 7 breaks the string into words on space characters and the loop from line 8 to line 18 deals with each word, one at a time.

Line 9 does most of the work, converting the word first to lower case and then capitalising it, which is great for the vast majority of words, but what about Scottish and Irish names?

That’s what lines 11-17 deal with. Essentially, presented with a list of prefixes declared as $specials at line 11 (which you can add to if needed), we then find any words that begin with those prefixes and capitalise the fragment of word following. Example – the word being processed arrives at line 12 as ‘Macdonald’, and the code goes through each of the ‘specials’ to see if our word starts with the prefix. It does in the case of ‘Mac’, so we capitalise ‘donald’ and put the two fragments back together as ‘MacDonald’.

But that messes up ‘Macclesfield’, making it ‘MacClesfield’, so lines 21-24 undo what we just did for another list of ‘specials’, which you can also add to if you wish.

Lines 26-29 just make some shorter words (are they conjunctions?) into lower case, so you and up with ‘Walton le Dale’ or ‘Stratford upon Avon’.

Then we put the text back together and return it at line 31. Easy.

Help yourself if you find this function useful. Any links back or other acknowledgements would be more than welcome, but aren’t necessary.

Leave a comment if you find any bugs, or you think you can improve my code.

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