Code snippet: human readable to machine name

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This PHP code snippet compute nice machine name (i.e. with only alpha numerical characters, keeping inside hyphens) from a formated human readable name.

Useful for some automatic machine name identifiers computing from human readable arbitrary titles, I use it sometime in Drupal modules.

<?php
/**
* Helper that generates a machine name using a provided human readable name.
*
* @param string $human_name
*   Human readable name.
*
* @return string
*   Machine name cleaned-up of any special chars.
*/
function human_to_machine($human_name) {
  return
strtolower(preg_replace(array(
   
'/[^a-zA-Z0-9]+/',
   
'/-+/',
   
'/^-+/',
   
'/-+$/',
  ), array(
'-', '-', '', ''), $human_name));
}
?>

This is not fail-safe but it will work in most cases (if you give a string without any human readable chars you will get an empty string or a string only with one hypen).

This is also a nice sample of preg_replace() usage.