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I'm writing code to validate YouTube URLs. Is it guaranteed that the video ID, such as oHg5SJYRHA0, is always exactly 11 characters long, or can it sometimes be shorter or longer? Is there any official documentation about this?

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At least until 5.20e+19 videos are made ;) –  Jason McCreary Mar 26 '11 at 2:17
@Jason damn you! what calculator are you using! –  Saad Mar 26 '11 at 2:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

They'll probably stick to 11 chars for a long time. Each character has 64 possible values:

2*26 letters (lowercase and uppercase) + 10 for the digits, + 2 for "_" and "-" chars

2 * 26 + 10 + 2 = 64

Then 11 characters in total:

64^11 = 73786976294838210000 (or more or less "73,7e18")

Of course not all combination will be used, depending on their algorithm, but they are probably not going to change it anytime soon. Words from a YouTube developer state that they do not guarantee, though: http://osdir.com/ml/youtube-api-gdata/2009-10/msg00237.html

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@Diego: If you're going to cite so many digits, you may as well show the last few: 64^11 = 2^66 = 73,786,976,294,838,206,464 With 0.5 rounding, the engineering form is 73.787e18 . –  Oahu Hawaii Feb 9 at 21:46

Yes, they always have 11 characters.

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Do you have any information to back that up? –  Al E. Jun 15 '12 at 13:22

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