Handle phone numbers intelligently
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Pull request Compare This branch is 6 commits behind erebor:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



The phone_wrangler gem helps me parse, compare and normalize NANP phone numbers (basically the US, Canada, and some territories). It's not intended to be a generalized phone number handler for international numbers. There are two good reasons (and one lame one) for this:

  1. In the apps where I use this, I don't have any international phone numbers (nor will I; they're not public-facing web apps).

  2. I need to be able to handle short phone numbers (“555-1111”), which means I have to treat a number prefix starting with something-besides-1 as an area code or prefix, rather than following the prefix code.

  3. I don't know how to parse the wicked prefix code for country calling codes

I'll let you decide which of those three is the lame one.


1) PhoneWrangler or PhoneNumber? Are you stupid or something?

Probably. This gem was going to be called phone_number (the class is called PhoneNumber), but I was too slow, and midas created the cool phone_number gem while I was dorking around. I wanted to extract this anyway (for my own use) and don't want to change all my code at the moment to use PhoneWrangler as the class, so there we are.

  1. So it's more of a lazy thing?

Yes. Eventually, I will probably cave in and fix it, which will infuriate both the loyal fans of phone_wrangler (aka the PhoneNumber wrapper gem).

Installing PhoneWrangler


Ruby. And a computer, probably.


gem sources -a http://gemcutter.org
sudo gem install phone_wrangler

Installation for Rails

If you want to vendor the gem in your Rails app, add this to config/environment.rb :

config.gem "phone_number", :version => '0.0.1', :source => 'http://gemcutter.org'

Optionally, you can add

include PhoneWrangler

to get easy access to the PhoneNumber class without having to add the module name, like PhoneWrangler::PhoneNumber, which is really too clunky to contemplate, yes?

Then run

sudo rake:gems:install

Using PhoneWrangler

You can create a PhoneNumber object from almost any phone-number-looking string:

home = PhoneNumber.new('800/555-2468 x012')


home = PhoneNumber.new('555-2468 ext 12')


home = PhoneNumber.new("202.444.1234")


home = PhoneNumber.new("5551234")

plus other variations. Because users enter phone numbers in my app with reckless abandon in format, I try to accept and parse any form for which I can figure out with some confidence which part is which.

You can also create a PhoneNumber from a hash:

home = PhoneNumber.new(:prefix => '555', :number => '1234', :area_code => '444')  # 444-555-1234


home = PhoneNumber.new(:extension => '99', :prefix => '555', :number => '1012') # 555-1012 x 99

One of the most useful things (for me) about a PhoneNumber object is it allows me to compare two phone numbers in different layouts:

pn1 = PhoneNumber.new("555-403-1212")
pn2 = PhoneNumber.new(" 1 555/403.1212 ")

pn1 == pn2  # true

pn3 = PhoneNumber.new(:prefix => '403', :number => '1212')
pn3.area_code = '555'
pn1 == pn3  # true

And did I mention you can set or retrieve any of the PhoneNumber's components with accessors?

pn = PhoneNumber.new("555-403-1212")
pn.extension  # nil
pn.area_code  # '555'
pn.prefix = '444'   # "555-444-1212"

A PhoneNumber object can return you the original input if you ask nicely:

home = PhoneNumber.new(:prefix => '555', :number => '1234', :area_code => '444')  # 444-555-1234
home.raw  # { :prefix => '555', :number => '1234', :area_code => '444' }
home = PhoneNumber.new('555-2468 ext 12')
home.raw  # '555-2468 ext 12'

Keep in mind that if you change pieces of PhoneNumber using the accessors, the actual content of PhoneNumber will diverge from the original input. But we can't change the past, can we?

You can also overwrite the contents of a PhoneNumber object by giving it a new phone number:

pn = PhoneNumber.new("555-1212")
pn.to_s  # "555-1212"
pn.raw = "555-444-4040"
pn.to_s  # "(555) 444-4040"
pn.raw = {:area_code => '222', :prefix => '555', :number => '0909'}
pn.to_s  # "(222) 555-0909"

When you change PhoneNumber this way, it stores the new input as the 'original' input. Gotta keep up with the changing times!

PhoneNumber also supports a number of named formats (:us, :us_short, :nanp_short at the moment; look in the code for +@@formats+), as well as sprintf-style string interpolation, as arguments to to_s. For example:

pn = PhoneNumber.new("404-555-1212 ext 37")
pn.to_s  # "(404) 555-1212 x 37"
pn.to_s(:us_short)  # "(404) 555-1212"
pn.to_s("Digitz [%a] -->%p~%n")  # "Digitz [404] -->555~1212"

There's more, but it's not a very long or complicated library, so look at the code!


All words of adulation, adoration, encouragement, worshipful praise, and awestruck respect are most welcome.

But since most words are of a very different kind, I suppose I'll have to listen to them, too.

Send either kind to me here, or find me on Twitter (@erebor) or email me. I'll bet you can find my address.

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.

  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but

    bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright © 2010 Ryan Waldron (erebor). See LICENSE for details.