Okay, not the hottest topic in the world of dev, but a common one nonetheless!
Let’s say that you’re creating a fun game that lets kids pick their favorite animal and puts a picture of their face on the animal (c’mon, million dollar idea, right).
You’ll start off with a select element with a list of animals to choose from. To populate that select element, you Google “list of animal names”. The first result contains a great list of animal names from A-Z.
Now, how do you convert that list into HTML <option> tags? There are two approaches here:
Hard Coded HTML
Believe it or not, you can use your favorite spreadsheet tool to create the HTML.
- Copy your list from the website you found (or whatever your source is) and paste it into column B of the spreadsheet.
- In Column A, enter <option> and copy/paste it to the last row.
- In Column C, enter <option> and copy/paste it to the last row (by now, you might see where I’m going with this).
- Export the spreadsheet as a CSV file.
- Open the CSV file in your code editor, or text editor.
- Find/replace the commas with, well, nothing.
- You’ve got your HTML!
Use a Loop in Your Scripting Language
If you’re familiar with Regular Expressions, you can use your favorite code editor’s find/replace dialog with it’s regular expression option.
- Copy your list from the website you found (or whatever your source is) and paste it into your code editor.
- Open your find/replace dialog and make sure “use regular expressions” is checked.
\Rin the find box. In most tools, this signifies a line break.
','into the replace box (adjust this based on your scripting languages syntax for an array).
- Once you do the find/replace, you’ll notice that the list has been converted to a single line, with each option delimited by ‘,’
- From there, just add a leading
')(depending on your languages syntax) and you’ve got your array!
The Easier Way
As a dev, I need to do this type of thing very often. So I created a little online Line Break Remover tool to make this quick and painless. I keep it in a folder in my bookmark bar.
Just enter a single quote in the Wrap lines with field, a comma in the Replace line break with character field, then paste your list into the first text box. Voila!