Ruby-on-rails – How to replace accented Latin characters in Ruby


I have an ActiveRecord model, Foo, which has a name field. I'd like users to be able to search by name, but I'd like the search to ignore case and any accents. Thus, I'm also storing a canonical_name field against which to search:

class Foo
  validates_presence_of :name

  before_validate :set_canonical_name


  def set_canonical_name
    self.canonical_name ||= canonicalize( if

  def canonicalize(x)
    x.downcase.  # something here

I need to fill in the "something here" to replace the accented characters. Is there anything better than

x.downcase.gsub(/[àáâãäå]/,'a').gsub(/æ/,'ae').gsub(/ç/, 'c').gsub(/[èéêë]/,'e')....

And, for that matter, since I'm not on Ruby 1.9, I can't put those Unicode literals in my code. The actual regular expressions will look much uglier.

Best Answer

ActiveSupport::Inflector.transliterate (requires Rails 2.2.1+ and Ruby 1.9 or 1.8.7)


>> ActiveSupport::Inflector.transliterate("àáâãäå").to_s => "aaaaaa"