Firebase key utility and encoding/decoding functions

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What is it?

firebase-key is a library of utility functions for manipulating, encoding and decoding Firebase keys.

Why might you need it?

You might find firebase-key useful if you need to do any of the following:
  • Convert a Firebase push key/ID to a time.
  • Query push keys/IDs based on time.
  • Page through push keys/IDs as efficiently as possible.
  • Store illegal characters in Firebase keys.
  • Encode integers as strings that sort numerically.


Install the package using NPM:
npm install firebase-key --save

And import the functions for use with TypeScript or ES2015:
import { key } from "firebase-key";

Or require the module for use with Node or a CommonJS bundler:
const firebaseKey = require("firebase-key");

Or include the UMD bundle for use as a script:
<script src=""></script>



function key(
  timestamp: number | Date =,
  as: "max" | "min" | "random" = "random"
): string

This function is based on the Firebase push key/ID generator implemented in this gistgist.
If called with no arguments, it generates a Firebase push key/ID using the current time. If a timestamp is specified, it is used in the generation of the key.
By default, the timestamp is combined with random data. If as is specified as either max or min, random data is not used and the generated key will sort either after (for max) or before (for min) any other keys that that have the same timestamp, but have random data.


function date(key: string): Date
function milliseconds(key: string): number

These functions return the timestamp of a push key/ID, either as a Date or as the number of milliseconds elapsed since 1 January 1970 00:00:00 UTC.


function increment(key: string): string
function decrement(key: string): string

These functions return a push key/ID that has been incremented or decremented to the next consecutive push key/ID and can be useful when paging through the Firebase database.


function encode(text: string): string
function decode(key: string): string

These functions encode and decode keys, replacing illegal characters with safe, encoded characters.
! is used as an escape character - rather than % - for compatibility with the REST API and with the Firebase management console.


function encodeLexicographic(value: number): string
function decodeLexicographic(key: string): number

These functions encode and decode integer values (both positive and negative) as strings that have a lexicographic ordering that is identical to the numeric ordering. They are based upon an implementation used in Firepadfirepad.