I have been thinking about brand identities a lot lately. How some brands will revolve their creative marketing material around a theme like outer space or fantasy realms. But too often creators don't think about the links their customers will share from within their apps. For example, apps will have a social media share button within their apps for their customers to share some content but it has a ridiculously long link that just makes their message look busy. Linksof.fun wants to change that!! It allows developers to quickly setup a custom short URL shortening service and then use Postman to generate code snippets to integrate into their apps. With linksof.fun, developers also have a choice of what web analytics service they want to use so the data analyst on the team doesn't have to jump around between different services.
What it does
Linksof.fun takes any URL and returns a short link that is both easier to remember and can fit more naturally on mediums like SMS or Twitter. Brands can now purchase a domain name that fits closer to their main URL that is used to help share their message. For example let's say
brandname.com is the main domain owned by the brand, they can purchase something like
brandna.me to use for their URL shortening service. So when they want to share a link such as
brandname.com/folder-name-1/folder-name-2/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=spring_sale, they can instead share
brandna.me/3Or9OyJpghCwLpVoeR9J which can fit easier on mediums like SMS. Linksof.fun also allows for vanity URL endings. For example,
brandna.me/github both redirects to a desired page and is fairly easy for customers to remember.
How we built it
Firebase Functions, Hosting, and Firestore are the main components on the backend. Google Analytics is currently being used for analytics tracking but can easily be replaced with a different service. Postman Collections helped organize the various API requests. Postman Code Snippets was instrumental to building the front-end code and will likely be used in the future to build integrations into future apps. Postman Environments was used to help organize the various requests so that a single generic collection can be used for multiple URL shortening services. Postman Monitors is used to help determine the health of the linksof.fun URL shortening service. Postman Documents is used to help give notes for the overall collection as well as getting the code snippets to make the requests in the application.
Challenges we ran into
Accomplishments that we're proud of
My goal was to make it easier for any developer to quickly spin up a URL shortening service, generate code snippets they can then place into their apps, and use whatever analytics service they like.
What we learned
Firebase Functions can host front end applications. I had no idea that existed before this project and made my life easier!! But the biggest thing was how to design better APIs by watching the various Postman YouTube videos and using the knowledge to create better documentation.
What's next for linksof.fun
My next goal is to add more analytics service options to the repo. Then, add Firebase authentication so that only certain users can create new short URLs. Finally, figure out if I can create a "one-click" button to deploy the GCP service, Postman collection, and analytics or at the very least get as close as possible to a "one-click" experience as possible.