I ran into some issues with a piece of code I wrote several years ago in CodeIgniter. I’m using names of people as part of the URL. When someone enters a name with spaces on the database, the spaces are converted to %20 in the resulting URL. The URL doesn’t look pretty and definitely not SEO friendly. It needs to be cleaned up by replacing spaces with either a dash or an underscore.
The other issue is when performing a search, the database doesn’t really know that ‘John Doe’ is essentially the same as ‘John%20Doe.’ So, I ended up using a CodeIgniter function called url_title. The function strips the spaces and replaces it with a dash or a hyphen. In the case of ‘John%20Doe’, it now displays as ‘John-Doe.’ You can also use an underscore. See example below.
Replace %20 with dash or hypen
$name = 'John Doe'; $url = url_title($name); // produces 'John-Doe' $name = 'John Doe'; $url = url_title($name, '_'); // produces 'John_Doe'
Put the space before the search
Before performing a search, I use str_replace to remove the dash and put back the space so it matches the database entry. It’s essentially the reverse of what I did to display a friendly URL.
$url = 'John-Doe'; $name = str_replace('-', ' ', $url); // perform your search function here
If you’re not familiar with CodeIgniter, check how URI routing and url_title are handled.