I don't know how Twitter are shortening the URLs.

However. IIRC Twitter's shortener is designed to always use 20
characters (I believe) so that as developers we can pass in full URLs
knowing how much space each URL will take up in a tweet and show the
character count accordingly. Matt / Taylor might be able to comment
further though.


Nik Fletcher

On Aug 13, 2:17 am, "D. Smith" <emai...@sharedlog.com> wrote:
> How long has it been since Twitter started their own t.com url
> shortener? Not sure, but I don't think it's been long enough to
> shorten over 3.5 trillion urls.
> Well, I just noticed that the the url "shortened" by t.com was
> this:http://t.co/5ywZYau
> So the value is 5ywZYau
> From what I understand the shorteners work this way (at least this is
> the most effecient way in order to create as short a url as possible):
> First you create a new record for url and get the next available
> numeric id, usually auto increment. Then you use base62 encoding to
> convert this integer into a string. The result is that you get the
> shortest possible value consisting of lower and upper case english
> letters plus 10 numbers, thus a total of 62 chars are used.
> The number of chars needed to represent a value is 62 x 62 x 62,
> etc... so the 7 chars-long base 62 string can represent a number over
> 13 digits long.
> Ok, so is it really possible for this service to already shorten over
> a trillion urls? I don't think so. which only means that you are not
> doing your best to make the shortest possible url. What's the point of
> registering a one-letter top level domain, going through all the
> trouble of creating your own service and then not really doing your
> absolute best to make sure urls are as short as possible. I mean, you
> could have probably still be using 4, maybe 5 - chars long codes
> instead of 7, saving potential customers 2 or 3 valuable characters

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