Rickroll Me

(Custom Metadata URL Redirect Prank)

Note: This project has been discontinued


I took two of the things I love, Rickrolls/pranks, and URL redirecting, and decided to make an app that automated the process of bringing the two together. I have in the past used one specific repl that I had to manually edit the code in any time I wanted to make a different prank, and knew there must be a better way. That is when I decided to make this app.

How I built it

I used flask to host the back end of the application, and HTML/CSS/JS for the look and feel of the website. User data is posted from the web form into an SQL database. When someone tried to paste or open a link from the website, flask grabs the URL and queries the database to find the pre-entered metadata, then uses it to generate a redir.html file with metadata and a redirect timeout. Thus when someone clicks the link they are redirected to the pre-determined website.

Challenges I ran into

The main challenge I ran into is how Facebook was ignoring the metadata I included in my redir.html file and went straight to the redirect's metadata instead. This was solved by using JavaScript to handle the redirecting, and setting a timeout of 1 second so that Facebook could not predict the redirect before hosting the link's metadata.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm proud of overcoming the challenge that Facebook posed (as noted above). Moreover, I'm proud of being able to set up a proper web server on a VPS, something I have never done before. This will open up many new opportunities for me, and will allow me to create much more robust applications in the future.

What I learned

This was my first time using Gunicorn and Caddyserver to host a website, and also my first time hosting a web app on a VPS (in the past I would just use a platform such as Heroku or GitHub Pages). Therefore I learned more about web servers in general, and about how reverse proxy works. Moreover, I am now much more comfortable with web servers and backend programming in general.

What's next for Rickroll Me

I plan to develop a login system whereby users may save their custom links, and access/edit/delete them from a central dashboard.

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