URL.ie Launches

Jan 27th, 2005   6:13 am

So, I’ve finally got one of my small/hobby projects off the ground. URL.ie is a URL truncation service, very like TinyURL.com. I just got tired of timeouts, and slow redirects with TinyURL, and wanted a more local offering to Irish users (although, it’s not limited to them, by any means).

The theory is very easy, and the project itself was made easier by a pre-existing script. The theory is that you have a long URL, submit it to this site, which then generates a short Id, which is appended to this site’s URL. That Id – Long URL lookup is stored in a bog-standard, simple-schema database. When someone requests that short URL (with the generated Id), the script looks that URL up in the database, and issues a HTTP 302 redirect, to that URL. Very simple!

The script I used (but is fairly heavily modified at this stage) was TightURL. It’s a PHP based script, that uses a single lookup table in a MySQL database. The theory is not rocket science, but the script was a bit limiting in terms of the use of URLs. So I’ve modified it to support a more aesthetically-pleasing URL form of “http://url.ie/123” instead of “http://www.url.ie/index.php?i=123”, and some other trickery-pokery. However it did allow me to get the site up and running quickly.

In the future (I can’t say how near, or far away, that said future is), I want to rewrite it in PERL, my primary scripting language, and add tracking features (hit counters, most popular, browser stats, email reports, etc.), and I’ll probably include some advertising on the main page. For as long as I can, I’ll keep it free from annoying popups, or intermediate pages on the redirect, because, I think that sucks, and sort of defeats the idea. I’ll have to look at the costs, if it ever gets used heavily, but I have spare bandwidth right now, so it’s not a concern for a while yet. Hopefully the brand awareness it’ll generate for xennaNET and the inclusion of basic advertising on the front page will be enough to support it for the foreseeable future.

When I do rewrite, I do intend to open-source the scripts.