As we all know Google URL Shortener has been discontinued long back, so we thought why not create our own URL Shortening Service and make it as open source so that everyone can access it use the service freely (and also contribute to the open source community).

What it does

DUS allows us to reduce long links from Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and from other top sites on the Internet, just paste the long URL and click the Shorten URL button. On the next screen, copy the shortened URL and share it on websites, chat and e-mail. You can also create a custom shorten link and give it a expiration date.

How we built it

We have built the Service using:

  • Backend: Python and Django Framework
  • Frontend: HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Tailwind CSS Framework
  • Hosting Platform: Heroku

Challenges we ran into

From using keys to hashing the breadth and scope of our project introduced many challenges. It was especially challenging to create the logic for shortening keys while ensuring stability and efficiency/speed of the shortening service. Also, as we had participated in a group of 2, matching the timings to discuss various approach/logic for the implementation was a task.

What we learned

We learned about about different file hashing techniques, as well as how to work with, clone/push/pull Git repos. We also learned about the syntax of .gitignore files and how to apply them to non-Git applications. We used Tailwind CSS for the first time in designing the homepage and login/register pages and learned using PostCSS as a preprocessor which highly increases the speed of loading a website which has lot of custom CSS.

What's next for Django URL Shortner

  • Dynamic Links:We will incorporate Dynamic Links which are smart URLs that allow us to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS or Android app which will make the service compatible with mobile devices as well.
  • Dashboard: We are planning to build a dashboard for logged in users which will help them track their shortened links, a graph of the number of users using their links and also making the UI more user friendly.
  • Bridging offline to online experiences: Last but not the least, we will generate a QR Code for the shortened links as well, which will help mobile users to directly scan the code and go to the desired URL instead of typing out the whole URL.
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