Programming language: Go
License: MIT License
Tags: Miscellaneous    
Latest version: v1.0

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Generator of unique non-sequential short Ids

The package shortidenables the generation of short, fully unique, non-sequential and by default URL friendly Ids at a rate of hundreds of thousand per second. It guarantees uniqueness during the time period until 2050!

The package is heavily inspired by the node.js shortid library (see more detail below).

The easiest way to start generating Ids is:


The recommended one is to initialise and reuse a generator specific to a given worker:

sid, err := shortid.New(1, shortid.DefaultABC, 2342)

// then either:

// or:
// followed by:

Id Length

The standard Id length is 9 symbols when generated at a rate of 1 Id per millisecond, occasionally it reaches 11 (at the rate of a few thousand Ids per millisecond) and very-very rarely it can go beyond that during continuous generation at full throttle on high-performant hardware. A test generating 500k Ids at full throttle on conventional hardware generated the following Ids at the head and the tail (length > 9 is expected for this test):


Life span

The package guarantees the generation of unique Ids with no collisions for 34 years (1/1/2016-1/1/2050) using the same worker Id within a single (although can be concurrent) application provided application restarts take longer than 1 millisecond. The package supports up to 32 workers all providing unique sequences from each other.

Implementation details

Although heavily inspired by the node.js shortid library this is not just a Go port. This implementation

  • is safe to concurrency (test included);
  • does not require any yearly version/epoch resets (test included);
  • provides stable Id size over a the whole range of operation at the rate of 1ms (test included);
  • guarantees no collisions: due to guaranteed fixed size of Ids between milliseconds and because multiple requests within the same ms lead to longer Ids with the prefix unique to the ms (tests included);
  • supports 32 instead of 16 workers (test included)

The algorithm uses less randomness than the original node.js implementation, which permits to extend the life span as well as reduce and guarantee the length. In general terms, each Id has the following 3 pieces of information encoded: the millisecond since epoch (first 8 symbols, epoch: 1/1/2016), the worker Id (9th symbol), the running concurrent counter within the millisecond (only if required, spanning over all remaining symbols).

The element of randomness per symbol is 1/2 for the worker and the millisecond data and 0 for the counter. The original algorithm of the node.js library uses 1/4 throughout. Here 0 means no randomness, i.e. every value is encoded using a 64-base alphabet directly; 1/2 means one of two matching symbols of the supplied alphabet is used randomly, 1/4 one of four matching symbols. All methods accepting the parameters that govern the randomness are exported and can be used to directly implement an algorithm with e.g. more randomness, but with longer Ids and shorter life spans.

License and copyright

Copyright (c) 2016. Oleg Sklyar and teris.io. MIT license applies. All rights reserved.

Original algorithm: Copyright (c) 2015 Dylan Greene, contributors. The same MIT license applies. Many thanks to Dylan for putting together the original node.js library, which inspired this "port":

Seed computation: based on The Central Randomizer 1.3. Copyright (c) 1997 Paul Houle ([email protected])

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the go-shortid README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.