Regular Expressions are your friends.

Two and a half years ago, when I first dove into web development, I wasn’t very familiar with regular expressions. They certainly didn’t look regular to me, looked more like someone’s keyboard exploded. Now, having figured out a thing or two about them, I came across the following lines:

		$pos = strpos ( $this->user->privs, 'del');
if ($pos===FALSE)
{ // edit not found in string privs
return FALSE;
} else {
// figure out where the string ends by looking for a comma, return that substring
$next_comma = strpos( $this->user->privs, "," , $pos);
if ($next_comma===FALSE) $next_comma=strlen($this->user->privs);
$len = $next_comma-$pos;
$epriv = substr ($this->user->privs, $pos, $len);
return $epriv;

Which I was able to boil down into the following:

    if ( preg_match("/del_[a-z]+/", $privString, $match) )
return $match[0];
} else {
return false;