I was working on a simple PHP form that would take in a phone number and other fields and add it to the database and eventually display it on the screen. As I was testing this form, I noticed that the phone number was getting added to the database but was not showing up on the screen. It seemed very weird. I could not see the phone number in PHPMyAdmin either. It showed up when I wanted to edit a record.

To make sure I did not have an error in my PHP code, I created a simple test.html with the following code in it:

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″ />
<title>Phone Test</title>

Phone Number: 123-234-3456
<br />
Another Phone Number: 980-989-9989

The first phone number did not show up but the second one was fine. If I replaced the dashes in the phone number with spaces,

the number did not show up. I tried using parenthesis around the area code and still couldn’t see it on the screen. If I removed all delimiters, then the number showed up. It just drove me crazy. I tested the same web page in Internet Explorer and it showed up fine.

After struggling with this for a while, I opened up the error console and found many errors related to a Skype Firefox extension. I did not remember installing this extension. But, I did install Skype in my system. Apparently, when we install Skype, it automatically installs a Firefox extension which finds all the phone numbers on the web page and puts some CSS styles around it. It had a bug which caused the phone numbers to disappear. I disabled the extension by going to Tools > Add-ons. As expected, my page appeared fine.

Beware of extensions that get installed without your notice. You might see unrelated problems as a result of these extensions. As always, if you having a problem with the browser or if something is not showing up right, check the error console first.

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