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Posted 7 Jun 2005

Base 36 type for .NET (C#)

, 7 Jun 2005
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A struct that provides base-36 functionality.


I found myself wanting to express a whole host of numbers in as few characters as possible. I came up with the idea of using a Base36 type to represent Base 36 numbers. This scheme is basically an extension to hexadecimal, but whereas hexadecimal stops at 15 (F), Base 36 carries on, with G being 16, all the way up to Z, which is 35. 10 in Base 36 is in fact 36 in Base 10. Base 36 has the benefit that the "numbers" are expressed by characters that are readable to humans, so this can be a good way of passing numerical data over the telephone for instance. Using Base 36, numbers up to 46,655 can be expressed using only 3 characters (ZZZ).

The Code

The code for my Base36 struct is extremely simple, so I won't go into details explaining it; download it and take a look. I've overloaded as many operators as I could, so Base 36 numbers can be added, subtracted, multiplied etc... I've tried to keep the methods of my struct consistent with the way that Microsoft labels type methods. You can instantiate a Base 36 "number" in string format, or from a standard Base 10 number:

Base36 b1 = 104;
//This has the value 104 in base 10.

Base36 b2 = "DSGFDFDZ434";
//This has the value 50,420,080,957,151,344 in Base 10.

The source files should be made into a class library. The demo project should be made into a console application, with a reference added to the class library; this demonstrates my struct in action!

And that's it! The struct seems to work very well, although I'm sure some of the code can be optimised. Good luck!


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Steve Barker 333
Web Developer
United Kingdom United Kingdom
I left Nottingham University in 2000 with an MSci in Mathematical Physics proudly in my grasp... but not a clue what I wanted to do with it!

Somewhere along the way however, I managed to swap Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity for RecordSets and Arrays, and took on some freelance VB development work. I soon realised I'd found my vocation, and promptly found an IT post in Nottingham, where I began developing Access databases (using VBA) for local government offices.

At some point I moved from Access to SQL Server, and before long, got my grubby palms on a copy of Visual Studio .NET. A very important milestone in my development career I think! Armed with my new found .NET knowledge, and with four years IT experience under my belt, I found my second job as Project Manager/IT Systems Developer, which brings us nicely up to date. I now work almost exclusively in .NET, writing mainly C# Windows applications and the odd web service, although I’m working on my ASP.NET too: the future of software development.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Keith Farmer8-Jun-05 8:55
memberKeith Farmer8-Jun-05 8:55 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Steve Barker 33312-Jun-05 4:34
memberSteve Barker 33312-Jun-05 4:34 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
tupacs0112-Jun-05 8:03
membertupacs0112-Jun-05 8:03 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Jeremy Falcon8-Jun-05 9:51
professionalJeremy Falcon8-Jun-05 9:51 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
GeminiMan8-Jun-05 9:56
memberGeminiMan8-Jun-05 9:56 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
tupacs018-Jun-05 10:04
membertupacs018-Jun-05 10:04 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Jeremy Falcon9-Jun-05 3:27
professionalJeremy Falcon9-Jun-05 3:27 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
GeminiMan9-Jun-05 4:22
memberGeminiMan9-Jun-05 4:22 
MS GUIDs are all non-case sensitive. You get the same GUID upper case as lower case, so that makes me happy.

Base 36 is fine because I don't want case sensitivity, people have to be able to read it back.

What I do is strip out the -s in the GUID then encode it with Base 36. When I decode I added a function that returns the GUID back to me if possible and puts back to the -s in the right spots before using the new Guid function on a string.

Gets it down < 20 characters.

I'm looking at just taking a hash of the GUID and see if that can get it smaller while still unique.... (SHA hashes are supposed to be Guarenteed unique I think...)
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Jeremy Falcon9-Jun-05 4:40
professionalJeremy Falcon9-Jun-05 4:40 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
talgiladi3-Sep-11 22:27
membertalgiladi3-Sep-11 22:27 
GeneralRe: Fantastic! Pin
Steve Barker 3334-Sep-11 8:26
memberSteve Barker 3334-Sep-11 8:26 

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