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Address Sort Order Index (Views: 100)


Problem/Question/Abstract:

Address Sort Order Index

Answer:

The custom sort order is used to deal with the fact that the house and flat numbers are sorted as strings. They are stored as strings to allow things like '150-175' as a house number, or '3a', or perhaps even simply a flat 'A'.
The need for a custom sort order is caused by the fact that with an ordinary ASCII sort order '4' will appear after '30'. This is not desirable behaviour.

This approach to fix this problem is to look for the first number  in the string (if there is one) and then use this as some kind of  primary sort order. The rest of the sorting will then be done on  the remaining characters (with preceding and trailing spaces stripped out), based on the ASCII value of their upper - case varients. Potential problems caused by this approach include (but are not limited to) the use of accented characters will
possibly cause strange orderings and furthermore, if there is a block of flats with three floors A, B, C for example then supposing the flats on those floors are A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3 then the ordering of records will not be ideal - this approach will sort them as A1, B1, A2, B2, A3, B3. This behaviour is regrettable, but acceptable - we cannot tell that it is not flat A on floor 1 for example. It's unlikely that we will be able to find a sort order that always produces ideal results.

Some examples of sorted lists (not all ideal):

EXAMPLE 1
EXAMPLE 2
EXAMPLE 3






Flat 1
1
A
Flat 2
-2
B
3
2-4
C
3B
3a
1
Flat 3A
5
2


                
                            
                          
unit AddrSortOrder;

interface

uses SysUtils;

function CalcSortIndex(NumStr: string): double;

implementation

function CalcSortIndex(NumStr: string): double;
var
  strlength, i, j, tmp: integer;
  found: boolean;
  numpart, strpart, divisor: double;
  choppedstr: string;
begin
  //This function will return the sort index value for the string passed

  strlength := length(NumStr);
  if strlength = 0 then
  begin
    result := 0;
    exit;
  end;

  found := false;

  //split the string into a 'number' and a 'string' part..

  //initialise
  choppedstr := numstr;
  numpart := 0;

  //Locate the first digit (if there)
  for i := 1 to strlength do
  begin
    if numstr[i] in ['0'..'9'] then
    begin
      found := true; //First digit found!!
      break;
    end;
  end; //for i..

  if found then
  begin
    //now get the to the end of the digits..
    found := false;
    for j := i to strlength do
    begin
      if not (numstr[j] in ['0'..'9']) then
      begin
        found := true; //end of digits found
        break;
      end;
    end; //for j..

    //Separate out the string parts
    if found then
    begin
      //Number was embedded..
      val(copy(numstr, i, j - i), numpart, tmp);
      Delete(choppedstr, i, j - i);
    end
    else
    begin
      //Number went to the end of the string
      val(copy(numstr, i, strlength), numpart, tmp);
      Delete(choppedstr, i, strlength);
    end;
  end;

  choppedstr := Uppercase(trim(choppedstr));
  strlength := length(choppedstr);

  //evaluate a number for the remaining part of the string
  strpart := 0;
  divisor := 1;

  for i := 1 to strlength do
  begin
    divisor := divisor / 256;
    //convert from Char to single using a variant conversion
    strpart := strpart + (ord(choppedstr[i]) * divisor);
  end;

  //All done, return the value
  result := numpart + strpart;
end;

end.

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