I wrote a few lines of code just to detect any problems and I unfortunately did. The following code returns an empty JSON array, only two square brackets with no content between them. I tried using geo with valid,existent values from the table places. Although, it works perfectly when I send these commands directly in the SQL tab at phpMyAdmin.

// TODO: search database for places matching $_GET["geo"]
$geo = $_GET["geo"];

if(ctype_alpha($_GET["geo"]) === TRUE)
    $alpha_match = query("SELECT * FROM places WHERE MATCH(place_name, postal_code, admin_name1) AGAINST (? IN BOOLEAN MODE);",$geo);
else if(is_numeric($_GET["geo"]) === TRUE)
    // do something

Below is how I've indexed my columns:

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EDIT: This is what I receive:

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  • Does your query return rows if your search term ($_GET["geo"]) is rome? I think I see the problem but I want to be sure before I dive in. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 21:29
  • No, anything I type returns empty.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 21:49
  • Even "asdafafasd" returns an empty JSON array.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:03
  • Well asdafa.... wouldn't match anything, so you should expect an empty array. What "geo" do you use when you test directly in SQL? When you say empty JSON array, do you mean $alpha_match? Are you transferring the data from $alpha_match to $places? Correctly? Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:38
  • I've edited my post to what I receive and an example of what "geo" I use. In SQL I've hardcoded "Cambridge" and other variants that include "MA",full state name and postal code for testing purposes.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


I've just realised I had to put $places instead of $alpha_match. I should've paid more attention to the code below of how the JSON is created. facepalm

  • Glad to hear it. It's time for dinner anyway :) Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:57
  • Sorry for wasting your time. Cheers ! :)
    – Gabriel
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:58

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