Base32 Encoded Freedom

June 5, 2007

So I’m writing the license-key generation code for the store-front for a shareware program my friend Tyler and I are preparing to release (more about that later). We’ve decided to use cryptography to reduce the likelihood that our licensing schema will be compromised (for relatively little effort on our part). We also decided to base32 encode the actual keys to make them easier to read.

Well, the store-front is going to be a Rails app, of course. Ruby has a module to base64 encode, but it doesn’t have one to base32 encode. So, I wrote one, and I did it test first (of course).

The first four tests were easy. Really short strings, but they worked out most of the kinks. But, I wanted something that would boost my confidence further. So I wrote the following test which ended up being quite patriotic.

def test_constitution_preamble
  plaintext =<<-EOT
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
    establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
    defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty
    to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution
    for the United States of America.
  encoded = %W(
  assert_equal(encoded, Base32.encode(plaintext))

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