International Addresses

Richard Esplin richjunk1 at
Wed Mar 23 22:31:09 MST 2005

The past couple of months many of my clients have wanted help making their web 
forms friendly for their international customers. Unfortunately, there 
doesn't seem to be any international standard for accepting and displaying 
mailing addresses. As far as I can tell, there are only three real options:

1) Accept the address as a blob of text formatted however the user chooses. 
Though this is very flexible, it prevents any sort of validation or 

2) Accept the address in a manner similar to a US address, but with more 
generic names: Street Address, Locality, Region, Postal Code, Country. This 
is how KDE applications approach the problem. The down side is that not every 
area of the world has an address that fits this schema.

3) Ask the user to enter a country, and then display input boxes based on that 
specific country. This is perhaps the most correct solution, but very complex 
to manage.

Which of these methods have you used with your clients? What causes you to 
prefer one method over another? Is there a better way that I have not thought 

Is there a tool which can do the work for me? I have searched both PEAR and 
CPAN looking for a module which might help me do this, but nothing seems to 
fit. There are lots of proprietary modules I could purchase, but none seems 
to be worth the money. Is there a tool that you would recommend?

Thanks in advance for any input,

Richard Esplin

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