ur.ly – Dang Short Urls Powered by Google App Engine

Google App Engine let’s you build web apps that run on Google’s infrastructure. What’s the best way to get familiar with a new framework like this? Build something — preferably something simple and useful, and that’s what I set out to do.

I’ve played around in the URL-shortening space pioneered by TinyURL and understand the problem domain well. I’ve built a couple of these in PHP and Ruby (merb) and registered the ur.ly domain in September 2007 but never released anything. When GAE launched, memories of Steve Rubel’s Could a Billion TinyURL’s Go 404? post (hat tip to Dave Winer) echoed in my brain. Why not build a URL-shortener on GAE and let Google worry about scalability?

So I built ur.ly, a simple, super-scalable (thanks GAE), fast (yeah memcached) URL-shortening application. There’s an API to make it easy to use and it’s open source so you can play with the code or run your own.

Feedback anyone?


13 thoughts on “ur.ly – Dang Short Urls Powered by Google App Engine

  1. Adam,
    Nice. I couldn’t access the source code but it’s a great idea to put this on GAE. I tried it and got a ur.ly/t address. I feel so special being the 20th address to use it.

  2. Nice work – intend to use it with mymapsmobile project
    One issue though – can’t parse JSON API response, it’s missing a ” character. I’ve raised the defect, hope you’ll get a chance to fix it soon


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  4. Chaz6 – at this point urly can’t make short URLs with unicode chars because we’re base62 encoding integers to act as our unique ids.

  5. Bart – no idea on the IP addresses… perhaps a blog post, or perhaps Google had them documented a while back and only supports CNAMEs going forward. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.


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  7. Adam, how did you do the ur.ly have a “naked domain” through Google Apps and Appengine?
    I think Google Apps doesn’t support this feature anymore right?


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