Zip Code/Leading Zero's search problem


I'm running into an small issue with searching a zip codes table,
where some zip codes contain 1 or more leading zeros. This problem
could be fixed with some database level hacking -- but I'd rather
attack the problem in rails.

Zip codes are stored in the zip code table with leading zeros dropped.
01234 becomes 1234. Thus, when someone searches via the website for
012345, it will not find any results.

I'm looking to write a method (probably in the Zipcode model) to
remove any leading zeros from an incoming search request, before it
gets passed into sql calls.

I looked into callbacks, but those appears to only be useful when
creating/saving/updating/deleting data, whereas I need to address

Any suggestions on the correct/best way to do this? Again, I'm
looking for a rails solution, not a database level solution.


reg exp

Regex fails on validation even.

Plus just saying reg exp is not very helpful. I’m not sure how to trap the call before it reaching sql (assuming that is the best way to do it) which is really what I’m trying to figure out.


validates_format_of :zip_code, :with => /\A[0-9]{5}\Z/i,

fails on something like this 03062.

Maybe not ideal, but you could always just call to_i on the parameter that gets passed into your find method. That should strip it.


be more explicit in your reg exp
ie the first numeric must be [1-9]

I ended up solving the problem using Philip’s solution (thanks).

Curtis, thanks for the recommendation, but zero is a valid leading value for some zip codes, so only doing a range of 1-9 wouldn’t be as tight of a check as I would’ve liked.

Thank you all for your help and replies.


Jason - Thank you - If i understand your problem in correctly - you
wanted to turn the value into the database into a non-zipcode format
to allow for people to search without including the leading zero?

Also - thank you for the information about zero being a leading diget
for zip codes.