A Javascript library to parse snail mail addresses into components


A Javascript library for parsing valid address strings into their constituent elements.

It is hosted on GitHub at brianmhunt/SnailMailAddressParser.

This project exists to crowdsource the difficult problem of parsing addresses. It is intended to assist with the verification that addresses are properly formatted, and where they are properly formatted to parse and return their respective constituents.

At the moment this project does not aim to verify that an address is consistent with reality. For example, this library shall not verify that a given address in California has a local zip-code.

An example in node.js:

> smap = require('SnailMailAddressParser')

> smap.parse("100 Bay Street\nToronto, ON M5H 1T1\nCanada")
{ suite: '',
  addressee: '',
  street_number: '100',
  street_name_2: '',
  municipality: 'Toronto',
  province: 'ON',
  postal: 'M5H 1T1',
  country: 'Canada',
  street_name: 'Bay Street' }

Return an instance of the Address Parser. Uses the amdefine module for Node.js compatibility.

Parse the address_string, returning an object or throwing an exception where the address cannot be parsed.

If the address_string ends in a valid country name, that country is used, otherwise defaultCountry is used.

The object returned will contain the elements corresponding to the given country.

TODO Where the address_string is ambiguous, return a message indicating that the string is ambiguous, and provide the multiple matching results so that the user can choose which is correct.

Drop me a message or send along a pull request on GitHub. I would be delighted to co-ordinate support for addresses that may interest you.

The project is intended to divide-and-conquer. Each country has a strategy for parsing addresses, which strategy may be broken down into a variety of sub-strategies. In this way, I hope edge cases can eventually be shored up.

The built-in tests allow for easy verification that addresses return the expected fields. See for example test/

To install on the browser you can simply copy build/SnailMailAddressParser.js or build/SnailMailAddressParser.min.js to your project and include it in your project with eg the RequireJS require('jAddressParser').

With Homebrew

  • Node.js: brew install node
  • Coffee-script npm install -g coffee-script

Once 'npm' and coffee-script installed, you can run cake deps to install the remaining npm packages.

Convert the coffeescript in the lib/ directory into a usable javascript AMD modules build/SnailMailAddressParser.js and build/SnailMailAddressParser.min.js by calling cake toast.

Run Mocha-based tests on the project.

Install dependencies in the node_modules subdirectory of the project.

It is challenging to correctly parse the plethora of possible addresses, so contributions to the parsing and testing are most welcome.

Some ideas for future builds includes:

  • Integration with libraries or services that provide address verification
  • Geocoding integration

This project is licensed under the MIT license, which is included as LICENSE in the source.