For far too long we have had to simply wonder am I in Boston, with no definitive answer. But, those dark days are long behind us friends as I’m proud to announce the universe-wide launch of Is It Boston?
The site does one thing and one thing only, tells you if a zip code is in Boston, Massachusetts.
Is It Boston????
ISB is a fun little side project after reading a few comments from Boston’s Aquapacolypse where people wondered and debated whether places like Brighton, Charlestown, and Cambridge are in Boston [hint, two of them are]. It’s also a solution to a long standing gripe amongst all Bostonians, people saying they live in or are from Boston when they are not.
Personally, after spending a few years in California and North Carolina, I understand why someone from Newton says he’s from Boston and I’ve grown OK with it. But what does bother me is when people tell me, a Boston resident of 23 years, that my home neighborhood Dorchester is not part of Boston. Even showing a letter addressed to Boston, MA that arrived in my Dorchester home wasn’t enough so Is It Boston strives to be the definite source on whether a place is or isn’t in Boston!
Getting the data
Getting the data turned out to be a bit of a fuzzy matter. Thanks to Matt Cutts’ post Fun with zip codes, I got pointed over to the U.S. Census Bureau and their beautifully formatted list of U.S. zip codes.
Alas, their data, while pristinely formatted, wasn’t completely up to date. I then set out to compile my own list and double-check all the zip codes manually against the U.S. Postal Service’s data. If you live in Boston and would like to help the cause, check that list and let me know if your zip code should be there and what neighborhood it’s a part of.
Making the site
Once the lists were in place, making the site became a pretty easy venture. We basically take a zip code, check it against the lists and report back the results. If there’s interest, I can put together a tutorial on how I went about it. I’m also considering releasing the source code and cleaned up data so others can make their own Is It Insert_Location_Name_Here.
My proudest bit about the site is it’s size and load time. The home page only has two requests [not counting Analytics scripts] and weighs in at a minuscule 3.7 kb. Load time off The 42nd Estate’s servers averages between 3/10 to 4/10 of a second. I love minimalistic sites and you can’t get much more minimal than that!