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Uncoordinated unique ID that fits MAX_SAFE_INTEGER on web platform for long enough time.

SafeIntId #

Uncoordinated unique ID that fits MAX_SAFE_INTEGER on web platform for long enough time.

Existing solutions #

There are a lot of well-designed unique IDs. Few well-known ones are, alphabetically:
Cuid2, KSUID, Nano ID, ObjectId, Push ID, Sharding ID, Snowflake ID, Sonyflake, ULID, UUID, XID.

These IDs are great for their use cases, but none meets our special requirements.

Requirements #

  • ID should fit signed 64-bit int as in Isar Database ID.
  • ID should fit +/- (2⁵³-1) as in safe integers on web platform.
  • IDs should be generated at multiple places without coordination over the network as in offline-first app running on multiple devices.
  • IDs created at different moments of time should have zero probability of collision, not just small one.
  • IDs should be unique as much as possible given the constraints above.

Nice to have #

  • IDs could be sorted by their created-at timestamp.
  • This timestamp could be extractable from ID.
  • ID could be URL-friendly.
    • Max ID is 9007199254740991 which is URL-friendly as is.
    • If you need even shorter string, you can encode and decode ID, e.g:
      • 9007199254740991.toRadixString(36) == "2gosa7pa2gv"
      • int.parse("2gosa7pa2gv", radix: 36) == 9007199254740991
  • ID could optionally contain an auto-incrementing counter instead of a random part.

Not required #

  • We don't require ID to be highly unpredictable: we'd use auto-increment ID, but it would collide without coordination.

Design and usage #

  • Import:
    import 'package:safe_int_id/safe_int_id.dart';
    
  • Get a new ID:
    final id = safeIntId.getId();
    
    • ID is a positive integer less or equal than 2⁵³-1 for some number of years.
    • We could have 54 bits by using negative integers too, but this would increase complexity and reduce compatibility.
    • So we have 53 bits.
  • ID contains, by default:
    • 43 bits of timestamp:
      • Milliseconds since the UTC start of the first year you use this ID, 2023 by default, configurable:
        final customId = SafeIntId(firstYear: 2024);
        
      • To get DateTime when given id was created at:
        safeIntId.getCreatedAt(id) is DateTime
        
      • 43 bits give us more than 278 years of millisecond-precise timestamps:
        pow(2, 43) / (1000*60*60*24*365.2425) > 278
        
      • So for the default first year 2023 the last safe year is 2300, good enough.
    • 10 bits of random:
      • Non-secure random generator is used by default: it is always available and is faster than the secure one.
      • If you prefer secure random generator, it is configurable:
        final customId = SafeIntId(random: Random.secure());
        
      • 10 random bits give 1024 possible values per millisecond, configurable in exchange for how many years since firstYear this ID will be safe:
        final customId = SafeIntId(randomValues: 2048);
        assert(customId.safeYears == 139);
        assert(customId.lastSafeYear == 2161);
        
| random |                  default firstYear 2023 |
|   bits | randomValues | safeYears | lastSafeYear |
| ------ | ------------ | --------- | ------------ |
|      8 |          256 |      1114 |         3136 |
|      9 |          512 |       557 |         2579 |
|     10 | default 1024 |       278 |         2300 |
|     11 |         2048 |       139 |         2161 |
|     12 |         4096 |        69 |         2091 |
|     13 |         8192 |        34 |         2056 |
|     14 |        16384 |        17 |         2039 |
|     15 |        32768 |         8 |         2030 |
|     16 |        65536 |         4 |         2026 |
  • Probability of generating more than one ID with the same value is approximately N²/2M, where:
    • M is randomValues - how many possible values we have.
    • N is how many IDs per millisecond we generate.
    • For N = 1 or less the probability is exactly zero for any M.
    • For N = 2 and default M = 1024 we have probability 0.002 = 0.2%.
    • 2 IDs per millisecond means 2K IDs per second, 120K IDs per minute, 7.2M IDs per hour.
    • To get 1% probability of collision with default M = 1024 we need to generate sqrt(2*1024*0.01) = 5 IDs per millisecond, 5K IDs per second, 272K IDs per minute, 16M IDs per hour.
    • Please check the table below to adjust SafeIntId(randomValues: M) if needed.
    • This approximation works well for probabilities of 50% or less, so the higher ones are not shown.
| M     | N                                                                                |
|       | 1 | 2      | 5     | 10   | 20   | 30  | 40  | 60  | 80  | 100 | 150 | 200 | 250 |
|------ | - | ------ | ----- | ---- | ---- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- | --- |
|   256 | 0 | 0.8%   | 4.9%  |  20% |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|   512 | 0 | 0.4%   | 2.4%  |  10% |  39% |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|  1024 | 0 | 0.2%   | 1.2%  | 4.9% |  20% | 44% |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|  2048 | 0 | 0.1%   | 0.6%  | 2.4% |  10% | 22% | 39% |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|  4096 | 0 | 0.05%  | 0.3%  | 1.2% |   5% | 11% | 20% | 44% |     |     |     |     |     |
|  8192 | 0 | 0.02%  | 0.15% | 0.6% |   2% |  5% | 10% | 22% | 39% |     |     |     |     |
| 16384 | 0 | 0.01%  | 0.08% | 0.3% |   1% |  3% |  5% | 11% | 20% | 31% |     |     |     |
| 32768 | 0 | 0.01%  | 0.04% | 0.2% |   1% |  1% |  2% |  5% | 10% | 15% | 34% |     |     |
| 65536 | 0 | 0.003% | 0.01% | 0.1% | 0.3% |  1% |  1% |  3% |  5% |  8% | 17% | 31% | 48% |
  • If you generate a lot of IDs on the same device, use incId() instead of getId():
    • incId() increments a counter instead of using a random value.
    • This counter resets to zero each millisecond, and blocks reaching randomValues (1024 by default).
    • If a hot loop for less than 1 millisecond burns, use await incIdAsync() or increase randomValues in exchange for safeYears.
    • This way you can get an increasing sequence of unique IDs.
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Uncoordinated unique ID that fits MAX_SAFE_INTEGER on web platform for long enough time.

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