Testing International Addresses

I’ve been working in a testing role recently, and it’s interesting to come at an application “from the other side.” Now when I hear all the typical developer excuses, they sound pretty contrite and hollow.

Testing addresses is interesting. Most people understand how addresses work in their own country, but I for one did not know how addresses work in other countries, and since I was working on something that will be distributed internationally (though in English, which significantly cuts down on the testing), I needed to check these things. Fortunately, I found this great website called Frank’s Compulsive Guide to Postal Addresses.

Did you know:

The best international addressing strategy is one that is not only consistent and inoffensive, but that also achieves to whatever degree possible several potentially conflicting goals:

  1. The address complies with the addressing guidelines of the originating country (USA in this case) and is dispatched to the correct destination country without any delay caused by the address itself.

  2. The address complies with the addressing requirements of the destination country and is dispatched to the target address without address-related delay.

  3. The address fits your own organization’s database and record-keeping needs, ideally allowing reports and selections by country, city, etc.

And when sending international mail in the US:

  1. The Country Line must be understandable by the USPS.

  2. The City Line must be understandable by the postal authorities in the destination country.

  3. The lines above the City Line must be understandable by the destination post office.

Fascinating stuff.

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