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Last updated: 18 Mar 2021

content-data-api: Use compound id instead of a random UUID



In the Data Warehouse we have decided to track content through time and use a unique identifier that guarantees consistency across time.

Our initial approach was to use a random uuid:

 SecureRandom.uuid #=> "1ca71cd6-08c4-4855-9381-2f41aeffe59c"

Following some feedback from @tijmenb, we have decided to use a compound id for each on of our items. The compound id will have the following format depending of the type of Content Item:

Single content items (no multi-path)

We concat the content_id and the locale for Content Item that don't have multiple paths.

  warehouse_item_id = "1ca71cd6-08c4-4855-9381-2f41aeffe59c:en"

Multipart content items (item with multiple paths)

We concat the content_id, the locale and the base_path for Content Items that have multiple paths (Guides, Travel Advice...)

  warehouse_item_id = "1ca71cd6-08c4-4855-9381-2f41aeffe59c:en:/marriage-abroad"

We won't be able to track changes to base_paths, but as of today we have no simple way to work around this. This is a known issue that could be mitigated by getting aggregations at the parent level.


  1. Use a compound unique id following the naming conventions described above.
  2. Name it warehouse_item_id


  1. The unique identifier is not a random number. It has a meaning which mimics the existing rules that define uniqueness across all GOV.UK content
  2. It is consistent with Content Publisher: the new publishing application for content.
  3. The unique identifier enables easy integration for external applications as they can easily build URLs that depend on the unique id.