Announcing Smurl - a free URL compressor

07 September 2005   12 comments   Zope

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Today I formally launch a new website:

Smurl lets you generate aliases for looong URLs that you might want to paste into your emails (emails are often width-size limited) or SMS. Imagine sending this SMS to a friend:

Hi mate. Pls check out my new flat on the net:

which could with a Smurl name be shortened to:

Hi mate. Pls check out my new flat on the net:

The bad news is that this hasn't been done before. The most famous "competitor" is probably and my hope isn't to become the worlds dominant short-url-forwarder. No, the purpose of building this is the underlying technology which is now released as Open Source which is called Smurler. This is a Zope product that anybody can install and then use how they like it with their own domain name or other settings. At work we might soon need something like this and since many of our commercial sites use Zope it will be a breeze to install and benefit from the Smurl functionality for various other applications.

With the default set of sample characters used for the Smurl names there are 1024 different 2-character Smurls, 32,768 different 3-character Smurls and 1,048,576 different 4-character Smurls which will last my quite long on that domain name alone.

There isn't much fluff to it yet. The site has only one special user function and that is that it remembers all previous Smurls you have created. The next thing I might add is some basic statistics for the overall use. If you have any other ideas, let me know.


Tom von Schwerdtner
You could gain a lot of users if you provided a simple remote interface to generate urls.. eg via a smart bookmark.
Peter Bengtsson
>>> import xmlrpclib
>>> smurlapi = xmlrpclib.Server('')
>>> smurlapi.createSmurl('')
Tom von Schwerdtner
Ooh nice.

Now who wants to go and write a little javascript to pop up a dialog with the smurly url?
Peter Bengtsson
Revisit and you'll see that new link on the right hand side. Drag that into your Bookmarks and the next time you're on a site with a long URL, just click on "Make it Smurl!" in your Bookmarks.
Tom von Schwerdtner
kudos, it's now in my toolbar.
Stephan Goeldi
This is great! Thank you very much. Now where's the link to Smurler?
i implemented this in about half a screenful of perl (using apache redirects) after hearing about tinyurl, it's been very useful since.
Something funny...

I went to and, instead of adding the "new link on the right hand side" mentionned above to my bookmark, I clicked on it.
I got the following answer ;-)

The following URL:

became -2 characters shorter as:
Peter Bengtsson
Ha ha! That's what should happen. That's like finding a yahoo site when searching on google.
Largest definition directory of common, modern, legal, education, health, sports, computers, it, home, parenting, teen, public, relation, music, networking, construction, web, development, hosting, hardware, consultancy, school terms and much much more.
is being used for phishing attempts
can't you filter these assholes out!!
Firefox will put a block on your entire site if this becomes common

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