Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

in this article, we discuss Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB
Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog What is a url shortener?

What is a url shortener?

A URL shortener is a simple tool that takes a long URL and turns it into whatever URL you would like it to be.

Lets get started!

Create a new xpresserjs project using the xjs-cli Command line tool

npx xjs-cli new url-shortner

When asked for Language and Boilerplate select Javascript & Simple App Boilerplate

Project Language: Javascript
Project Boilerplate: Simple App (Hello World, No views)

cd into the new project folder and run yarn or npm install to install dependencies.

Database

This tutorial will make use of MongoDB using Xpress-mongo a lightweight ODM for Nodejs MongoDB.
Note: We assume you are already familiar with the MongoDB Ecosystem and have mongodb already installed in your machine.

Setup Database Connection

For quick database setup we will use xpresser’s official xpress-mongo plugin: @xpresser/xpress-mongo

Following the installation instructions on the npm page, we need to install xpress-mongo and @xpresser/xpress-mongo

  • xpress-mongo – A Nodejs lightweight ODM for MongoDB.
  • @xpresser/xpress-mongo – Xpresser’s Plugin that connects to MongoDB using xpress-mongo and provides the Connection pool throughout your application’s lifecycle.
npm i xpress-mongo @xpresser/xpress-mongo
# OR
yarn add xpress-mongo @xpresser/xpress-mongo

Create a plugins.json file in your backend folder. i.e. backend/plugins.json and paste the JSON below.

{
  "npm://@xpresser/xpress-mongo": true
}

This file tells xpresser that we want to use @xpresser/xpress-mongo plugin.

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to Configure

Configure

Let’s modify our configuration. Goto File: config.js

Change Name

  • Change project name from Xpresser-Simple-App to Url Shortener or any custom name you prefer.
  • Add the database config below to your config file.
module.exports = {
  // .... After every other config.
  mongodb: {
    url: 'mongodb://127.0.0.1:27017',
    database: 'url-shortener',
    options: {
      useNewUrlParser: true,
      useUnifiedTopology: true
    }
  }
}

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to look frontend

Frontend

Let’s make an index view. (xpresser supports Ejs by default)

Note: Since we now have xjs-cli in our project, we can use the command xjs without npx in our project root

xjs make:view index

this will create a .ejs file backend/views/index.ejs. Paste the code below in it.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <link href="https://unpkg.com/tailwindcss@^2/dist/tailwind.min.css" rel="stylesheet">
  <title>Xpresser URL Shortener</title>

  <script>
    function confirmDeleteUrl() {
      const canDelete = confirm('Are you sure you want to delete this URL?');
      if (!canDelete) return false;
    }
  </script>
</head>

<body class="bg-gray-100">
<main class="max-w-2xl mx-auto mt-5">
  <h2 class="text-2xl font-medium text-center text-gray-500">Shorten Your URL</h2>

  <!-- Input Form -->
  <form method="post" action="/shorten" class="my-5 flex mx-2 sm:mx-0">
    <div class="flex-auto">
      <input type="url" name="url" placeholder="Your long URL" required class="w-full border-l-2 border-t-2 border-b-2 py-2 px-3 md:text-lg text-blue-800
                   rounded-l-lg shadow-sm focus:outline-none">
    </div>

    <div class="flex-initial">
      <button class="md:py-3 py-2.5 px-4 bg-blue-800 text-white rounded-r-lg shadow-sm focus:outline-none">
        Shorten!
      </button>
    </div>
  </form>

  <!-- Url Table-->
  <div class="overflow-x-auto">
    <table class="mt-10 w-full">
      <thead class="border-b-2 mb-3">
      <tr class="text-blue-800 text-left">
        <th class="px-2">URL</th>
        <th class="px-2">Short ID</th>
        <th class="px-2">Clicks</th>
        <th class="px-2"></th>
      </tr>
      </thead>
      <!-- Url Table Body-->
      <tbody class="mt-3">
      <tr>
        <td class="p-2">
          <a href="#" target="_blank" class="text-blue-800">
            /AyXvu
          </a>
          <br>
          <small class="text-gray-500">
            https://xpresserjs.com/xpress-mongo/events
          </small>
        </td>
        <td class="p-2">AyXvu</td>
        <td class="p-2 text-green-600 pl-5">22</td>
        <td>
          <form method="POST" action="/delete" onsubmit="return confirmDeleteUrl(this)">
            <input type="hidden" name="shortId" value="realShortId">
            <button class="text-red-600">delete</button>
          </form>
        </td>
      </tr>
      </tbody>
    </table>
  </div>
</main>
</body>
</html>

The above is a simple HTML page that shows a form to shorten urls with a table displaying shortened urls.

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to look Control Requests

Control Requests

Empty file: backend/controllers/AppController.js and paste the code below.

COPY
module.exports = {

  name: 'AppController',

  /**
   * Index Page Action.
   * For route "/"
   */
  index(http) {
    return http.view('index');
  },
};

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to look Preview

Preview

Run nodemon app.js in the project root folder and click the server URL to preview the HTML in index.ejs i.e. http://localhost:3000

Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

Making it work

Let’s make this work with real values from the database.

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to Create Url Model

Create Url Model

To create a model, run the command:

xjs make:model Url

Creates a model backend/models/Url.js.

Adding Database Schema

In your new model you will see default fields: updatedAt & createdAt. we need to add other fields like url , shortId & clicks.

Note: The updatedAt field is not needed.

schema = {
  url: is.String().required(),
  shortId: is.String().required(),
  clicks: is.Number().required(),
  createdAt: is.Date().required()
};

Your model file should look exactly like

const {is, XMongoModel} = require("xpress-mongo");
const {UseCollection} = require("@xpresser/xpress-mongo");

class Url extends XMongoModel {
  // Set Model Schema
  static schema = {
    url: is.String().required(),
    shortId: is.String().required(),
    clicks: is.Number().required(),
    createdAt: is.Date().required()
  };
}

UseCollection(Url, "urls");

module.exports = Url;

Add Url

In our index.ejs file, the url form is sent via POST method to action: /shorten

Let’s register path /shorten in the routes.js file.

Add this line to the end your routes file.

router.post('/shorten', 'App@shorten');

This simply means that we want the shorten method in AppController to handle the POST request to /shorten

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to Add shorten method

Add shorten method

Paste the shorten method below in your AppController.

module.exports = {
  async shorten(http) {
    // Get url from request body.
    const url = http.body("url");
    // Generate short url using xpresser's randomStr helper.
    const shortId = http.$("helpers").randomStr(6)

    try {
      console.log(
          await Url.new({url, shortId})
      )
    } catch (e) {
      console.log(e)
    }

    return http.redirectBack()
  }
}
  • First, Get the url sent by the frontend form.
  • Generate a shortId using xpresser’s randomStr helper.
  • Try adding a new document to the database. Logs error or new URL document.
  • Redirect back to sender i.e. frontend.

Let’s test the progress so far.

Note: Because we made use of nodemon when running app.js earlier on, we don’t need to refresh our server since nodemon does that for you.

Refresh your browser, Then shorten a long url.

A look alike of the log below should show in your xpresser console logs before the request redirects back.

Url {
  data: {
    _id: 60c357723f80e72678b72ba7,
    url: 'https://xpresserjs.com/xpress-mongo/events',
    shortId: 'AyXvu',
    clicks: 0,
    createdAt: 2021-06-11T12:30:42.064Z
  }
}

The data above is saved to your database but our index.ejs does not show it yet. Now let’s make our index.ejs use dynamic values from the database.

Remember our index.ejs is rendered by the AppController@index controller route action. So that is where we will get a list of URLs from the database and provide it to index.ejs

Modify the index method in AppController to look like so:

module.exports = {

  async index(http) {
    // Get all urls from db.
    const urls = await Url.find();

    // Share urls with index.ejs
    return http.view("index", {urls});
  },

}

Next lets modify index.ejs file to use the urls data provided. Change this section of your index.ejs file

Change the table body i.e. <tbody>

FROM
<!-- Url Table Body-->
<tbody class="mt-3">
<tr>
  <td class="p-2">
    <a href="#" target="_blank" class="text-blue-800">
      /AyXvu
    </a>
    <br>
    <small class="text-gray-500">
      https://xpresserjs.com/xpress-mongo/events
    </small>
  </td>
  <td class="p-2">AyXvu</td>
  <td class="p-2 text-green-600 pl-5">22</td>
  <td>
    <form method="POST" action="/delete" onsubmit="return confirmDeleteUrl(this)">
      <input type="hidden" name="shortId" value="realShortId">
      <button class="text-red-600">delete</button>
    </form>
  </td>
</tr>
</tbody>

TO

<!-- Url Table Body-->
<tbody class="mt-3">
<!--Loop Through Urls-->
<% for(const url of urls) { const shortUrl = "/" + url.shortId; %>
<tr>
  <td class="p-2">
    <a href="<%= shortUrl %>" target="_blank" class="text-blue-800">
      <%= shortUrl %>
    </a>
    <br>
    <small class="text-gray-500">
      <%= url.url %>
    </small>
  </td>
  <td class="p-2">
    <%= url.shortId %>
  </td>
  <td class="p-2 pl-5 text-green-600">
    <%= url.clicks %>
  </td>
  <td>
    <form method="POST" action="/delete" onsubmit="return confirmDeleteUrl(this)">
      <input type="hidden" name="shortId" value="<%= url.shortId %>">
      <button class="text-red-600">delete</button>
    </form>
  </td>
</tr>
<% } %>
</tbody>

Here we are looping through urls and displaying them on the table.

Reload the index page, and you should see the long URL(s) that were previously saved to the database.

Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

Clicking a shortUrl link will display xpresser’s default 404 Error Page and this is because we haven’t declared the route that will redirect our short URL to its long URL.

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog we have to Handling short URL requests

Handling short URL requests

Let’s create a route that will handle a short URL. Add the route below at the end of your routes file.

router.get("/:shortId", "App@redirect");

This means that we want the redirect method  AppController to handle GET request sent to /:shortId
Note: :shortId in the URL indicates a dynamic route parameter.

http://localhost:3000/abcdef
http://localhost:3000/uvwxyz

Given the example above :shortId represents abcdef and uvwxyz.

Create the redirect method.

Paste the redirect method below in your AppController.

module.exports = {
  async redirect(http) {
    // Get shortId from request params.
    const {shortId} = http.params;

    // find url using shortId
    const url = await Url.findOne({shortId});

    // if no url found then send a 404 error message.
    if (!url) return http.status(404).send(`<h3>Short url not found!</h3>`);

    // Increment clicks count.
    await url.updateRaw({
      $inc: {clicks: 1}
    });

    // redirect to long url
    return http.redirect(url.data.url);
  }
}
  • First, we grab the shortId from the route url params.
  • Find the url using xpress-mongo’s findOne which returns a model instance when found or null if not found.
  • If the result from DB is null we return a 404 response.
  • Next, increment the clicks count.
  • Redirect to long URL.

Now Refresh your browser and click any of the short links. You will be redirected to the long URL and the clicks count should update also.

So, next up on this ‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’ blog if we Delete URL

Delete Url

The delete button when clicked and confirmed will show a /delete 404 Error Page and this is because we haven’t declared a route & controller action for it yet.

Let’s add a POST /delete route before our redirect route. Your route file should be looking like this.

const {getInstanceRouter} = require("xpresser");
/**
 * See https://xpresserjs.com/router/
 */
const router = getInstanceRouter();

/**
 * Url: "/" points to AppController@index
 * The index method of the controller.
 */
router.get("/", "App@index").name("index");
router.post("/shorten", "App@shorten");
router.post("/delete", "App@delete");
router.get("/:shortId", "App@redirect");

Why delete before redirect route?

If the /delete route is placed after the /:shortId route, the router will assume the keyword delete is a shortId route parameter because /:shortId was declared first.

Create the delete method

Paste the delete method below in your AppController.

module.exports = {
  async delete() {
    // Get shortId from request body.
    const shortId = http.body("shortId");

    // Delete from database
    await Url.native().deleteOne({shortId});

    return http.redirectBack();
  }
}

Refresh your browser and try the delete feature.

Hurray!! you now have your own URL shortener Application

‘ Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB’

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3 thoughts on “Build a URL Shortener with XpresserJs Using MongoDB

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