In Part 1 of this post
, I discussed my challenge of trying to import unparsed addresses into Dynamics GP and the various options that I found to solve this age old problem. I would have thought that there would be plenty of solutions available by now, but the ones I found had various limitations that prevented them from working for me.
Then, finally, I came across exactly what I was looking for: An economical tool called RecogniContact
, developed by LoquiSoft
, that is specifically designed to perform full "contact" parsing. It can be integrated into a custom application or web site, and allows you to programmatically parse and validate address information.
In addition to parsing addresses, it can also parse contact data, such as prefix (Mr., Mrs.), middle initial, suffix, title, department, phone number, and e-mail address. It will even tell you the gender of the contact for over 20,000 first names. But wait, there's more! More, you say?
It uses international postal coding standards to intelligently parse addresses for 21 countries (currently US and Europe), parse addresses for another 21 countries based on address structure, and, as scary as this sounds, it can even process contact data in 13 different languages. It can parse international phone numbers based on country-specific standards, and it can even determine if an area code is valid for a given country. This actually thwarted my lazy test plans when I tried to use a fake phone number of (123) 456-7890. It detected the invalid number and, sigh, I had to update my data to use a valid area code.
In addition to this exhaustive list, another very valuable feature is its ability to parse the fields that it can successfully recognize, but then output the specific values that could not
be recognized. This is actually a critical feature when parsing addresses, as it allows the user to skip past the contacts that imported fine, and makes it easier for them to specifically identify and manually review only the "partially" parsed addresses.
I corresponded with Werner Noska, the owner of LoquiSoft, and he explained that the tool started as a research project for an Austrian federal agency, which resulted in ContactCopy
, a desktop address parser. Due to requests by companies looking to incorporate the technology into their software, he developed RecogniContact.
He explained some technical details about RecogniContact that were outside of my realm, such as structural parsing vs. content aware parsing, and its ability to recognize data elements even without separators. I know that software developers are sometimes "ego enhanced", and therefore occasionally looking to prove something with their L337 development…