Saturday, December 6, 2008

UUIDs For The Masses! (in Ruby)

An UUID (Universally Unique Identification), also known as GUID, is often used in software to uniquely identify information. Originally designed for distributed systems, UUIDs have quickly found their way to wherever non-conflicting identifiers identifiers are needed.

UUIDs in Ruby

Lately, some Ruby projects have evolved that generate UUIDs in pure Ruby language. This hasn't been always that way: in 2005 Brad Wilson posted a code snippet that allowed generation of UUIDs on windows platforms. Round about the same time the uuid project was kicked-off with the goal to create a pure ruby implementation and thus cross platform support for generating UUIDs. This project achieved gold status in 2006.

UUIDs from Web Services

There are some web services out there that allow online generation of UUIDs. So i thought it should be easy to fetch UUIDs from those web services in ruby. Turns out it is!

For those interested in generating UUIDs from such web-services I've added a uuid.rb along with some unit-tests and an adopted win32 implementation to my ruby-snippets repository.

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