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A Laravel package for creating shortened URLs for your web apps.
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README.md

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Table of Contents

Overview

A Laravel package that can be used for adding shortened URLs to your existing web app.

Installation

Requirements

The package has been developed and tested to work with the following minimum requirements:

  • PHP 7.2
  • Laravel 5.8

Install the Package

You can install the package via Composer:

composer require ashallendesign/short-url

Publish the Config and Migrations

You can then publish the package's config file and database migrations (so that you can make changes to them) by using the following command:

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Providers\ShortURLProvider"

Migrate the Database

This package contains two migrations that add two new tables to the database: short_urls and short_url_visits. To run these migrations, simply run the following command:

php artisan migrate

Usage

Building Shortened URLs

Quick Start

The quickest way to get started with creating a shortened URL is by using the snippet below. The ->make() method returns a ShortURL model that you can grab the shortened URL from.

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->make();
$shortURL = $shortURLObject->default_short_url;

Custom Keys

By default, the shortened URL that is generated will contain a random key. The key will be of the length that you define in the config files (defaults to 5 characters). Example: if a URL is https://webapp.com/short/abc123, the key is abc123.

You may wish to define a custom key yourself for that URL that is more meaningful than a randomly generated one. You can do this by using the ->urlKey() method. Example:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->urlKey('custom-key')->make();
$shortURL = $shortURLObject->default_short_url;

// Short URL: https://webapp.com/short/custom-key

Note: All of the URL keys are unique, so you cannot use a key that already exists in the database for another shortened URL.

Tracking Visitors

You may want to track some data about the visitors that have used the shortened URL. This can be useful for analytics. By default, tracking is enabled and all of the available tracking fields are also enabled. You can toggle the default options for the different parts of the tracking in the config file. Read further on in the Customisation section to see how to customise the default tracking behaviours.

Note: Even if the tracking options (such as track_ip_address) are enabled for a short URL, they won't be recorded unless the track_visits options is enabled. This can come in handy if you want to enable/disable tracking for a short URL without needing to individually set each option.

Enabling Tracking

If you want to override whether if tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackVisits() method. This method accepts a boolean but defaults to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable tracking for the URL and override the config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->make();

The example below shows how to disable tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits(false)->make();
Tracking IP Address

If you want to override whether if IP address tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackIPAddress() method. This method accepts a boolean but defaults to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable IP address tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackIPAddress()->make();
Tracking Browser & Browser Version

If you want to override whether if browser name and browser version tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackBrowser() and ->trackBrowserVersion() methods. This method accepts a boolean but defaults to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable browser name tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackBrowser()->make();

The example below shows how to enable browser version tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackBrowserVersion()->make();
Tracking Operating System & Operating System Version

If you want to override whether if operating system name and operating system version tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackOperatingSystem() and ->trackOperatingSystemVersion() methods. These methods accept a boolean but default to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable operating system name tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackOperatingSystem()->make();

The example below shows how to enable operating system version tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackOperatingSystemVersion()->make();
Tracking Device Type

If you want to override whether if device type tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackDeviceType() method. This method accepts a boolean but defaults to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable device type tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackDeviceType()->make();
Tracking Referer URL

If you want to override whether if referer URL tracking is enabled or not when creating a shortened URL, you can use the ->trackRefererURL() method. This method accepts a boolean but defaults to true if a parameter is not passed.

The example below shows how to enable referer URL tracking for the URL and override the default config variable:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->trackVisits()->trackRefererURL()->make();

Single Use

By default, all of the shortened URLs can be visited for as long as you leave them available. However, you may want to only allow access to a shortened URL once. Then any visitors who visit the URL after it has already been viewed will get a HTTP 404.

To create a single use shortened URL, you can use the ->singleUse() method.

The example below shows how to create a single use shortened URL:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->singleUse()->make();

Enforce HTTPS

When building a shortened URL, you might want to enforce that the visitor is redirected to the HTTPS version of the destination URL. This can be particularly useful if you're allowing your web app users to create their own shortened URLS.

To enforce HTTPS, you can use the ->secure() method when building the shortened URL.

The example below show how to create a secure shortened URL:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('http://destination.com')->secure()->make();

// Desination URL: https://destination.com

Redirect Status Code

By default, all short URLs are redirected with a 301 HTTP status code. But, this can be overridden when building the shortened URL using the ->redirectStatusCode() method.

The example below shows how to create a shortened URL with a redirect HTTP status code of 302:

$builder = new \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Classes\Builder();

$shortURLObject = $builder->destinationUrl('http://destination.com')->redirectStatusCode(302)->make();

Facade

If you prefer to use facades in Laravel, you can choose to use the provided ShortURLBuilder facade instead of instantiating the Builder class manually.

The example below shows an example of how you could use the facade to create a shortened URL:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use ShortURLBuilder;

class Controller
{
    public function index()
    {
        $shortURLObject = ShortURLBuilder::destinationUrl('https://destination.com')->make();
        ...
    }
}

Using the Shortened URLs

Default Route and Controller

By default, the shortened URLs that are created use the package's route and controller. The routes use the following structure: https://webapp.com/short/{urlKey}. This route uses the single-use controller that is found at \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Controllers\ShortURLController.

Custom Route

You may wish to use a different routing structure for your shortened URLs other than the default URLs that are created. For example, you might want to use https://webapp.com/s/{urlKey} or https://webapp.com/{urlKey}. You can customise this to suit the needs of your project.

To use the custom routing all you need to do is add a web route to your project that points to the ShortURLController and uses the {shortURLKey} field.

The example below shows how you could add a custom route to your web.php file to use the shortened URLs:

Route::get('/custom/{shortURLKey}', '\AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Controllers\ShortURLController');

Note: If you use your own custom routing, you might want to disable the default route that the app provides. Details are provided for this in the Customisation section below.

Tracking

If tracking is enabled for a shortened URL, each time the link is visited, a new ShortURLVisit row in the database will be created. By default, the package is set to record the following fields of a visitor:

  • IP Address
  • Browser Name
  • Browser Version
  • Operating System Name
  • Operating System Version
  • Referer URL (the URL that the visitor originally came from)
  • Device Type (can be: desktop/mobile/tablet/robot)

Each of these fields can be toggled in the config files so that you only record the fields you need. Details on how to do this are provided for this in the Customisation section below.

Customisation

Disabling the Default Route

If you have added your own custom route to your project, you may want to block the default route that the package provides. You can do this by setting the setting the following value in the config:

'disable_default_route' => true,

If the default route is disabled, any visitors who go to the /short/{urlKey} route will receive a HTTP 404.

Default URL Key Length

When building a shortened URL, you have the option to define your own URL key or to randomly generate one. If one is randomly generated, the minimum length of it is determined from the config.

A minimum key length of 3 has been enforced for performance reasons.

For example, to create a shortened URL with a key length of 10 characters, you could set the following in the config:

'key_length' => 10,

By default, the shortened URLs that are created have a key length of 5.

Please be aware that the key length that you specify in the config is only a desirable length. It acts as a minimum length rather than a fixed length. For example, if the key_length is set to 3 in the config and there is a unique 3 character long key that hasn't been used yet, the key created will be 3 characters long. However, if all of the possible 3 character long keys are taken, a 4 character key will be created.

The Hashids library is used to assist with creating the URL keys.

Tracking Visits

By default, the package enables tracking of all the available fields on each URL built. However, this can be toggled in the config file.

Default Tracking

To disable tracking by default on all future short URLs that are generated, set the following in the config:

'tracking'   => [
        'default_enabled' => true,
        ...
]

Note: Disabling tracking by default won't disable tracking for any shortened URLs that already exist. It will only apply to all shortened URLs that are created after the config update.

Tracking Fields

You can toggle the default options for each of fields that can be tracked by changing them in the config. These options can then be overridden for each short URL at the point of creation, as shown in the Tracking Visitors section.

For example, the snippet below shows how we could record all of the fields apart from the IP address of the visitor:

'tracking'   => [
        ...
        'fields' => [
            'ip_address'               => false,
            'operating_system'         => true,
            'operating_system_version' => true,
            'browser'                  => true,
            'browser_version'          => true,
            'referer_url'              => true,
            'device_type'              => true,
        ],
    ],

Helper Methods

Visits

The ShortURL model includes a relationship (that you can use just like any other Laravel model relation) for getting the visits for a shortened URL.

To get the visits using the relationship, use ->visits or ->visits(). The example snippet belows shows how:

$shortURL = \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Models\ShortURL::find(1);
$visits = $shortURL->visits;

Find by URL Key

To find the ShortURL model that corresponds to a given shortened URL key, you can use the ->findByKey() method.

For example, to find the ShortURL model of a shortened URL that has the key abc123, you could use the following:

$shortURL = \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Models\ShortURL::findByKey('abc123');

Find by Destination URL

To find the ShortURL models that redirect to a given destination URL, you can use the ->findByDestinationURL() method.

For example, to find all of the ShortURL models of shortened URLs that redirect to https://destination.com, you could use the following:

$shortURLs = \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Models\ShortURL::findByDestinationURL('https://destination.com');

Tracking Enabled

To check if tracking is enabled for a short URL, you can use the ->trackingEnabled() method. It will return true if tracking is enabled, and false if not.

The following example shows how to check if a short URL has tracking enabled:

$shortURL = \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Models\ShortURL::first();
$shortURL->trackingEnabled();

Tracked Fields

To check which fields are enabled for tracking for a short URL, you can use the ->trackingFields() method. It will return an array with the names of each field that is currently enabled for tracking.

Note: Even if the tracking options (such as track_ip_address) are enabled for a short URL and returned, they won't be recorded unless the track_visits options is enabled. This can come in handy if you want to enable/disable tracking for a short URL without needing to individually set each option.

The following example shows how to get an array of all tracking-enabled fields for a short URL:

$shortURL = \AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Models\ShortURL::first();
$shortURL->trackingFields();

Events

Short URL Visited

Each time a short URL is visited, the following event is fired that can be listened on:

AshAllenDesign\ShortURL\Events\ShortURLVisited

If you are redirecting users with a 301 HTTP status code, it's possible that this event will NOT be fired if a visitor has already visited this short URL before. This is due to the fact that most browsers will cache the intended destination URL as a 'permanent redirect' and won't actually visit the short URL first.

For better results, use the 302 HTTP status code as most browsers will treat the short URL as a 'temporary redirect'. This means that the short URL will be visited in the browser and the event will be dispatched as expected before redirecting to the destination URL.

Testing

To run the package's unit tests, run the following command:

vendor/bin/phpunit

Security

If you find any security related issues, please contact me directly at mail@ashallendesign.co.uk to report it.

Contribution

If you wish to make any changes or improvements to the package, feel free to make a pull request.

Note: A contribution guide will be added soon.

Credits

Changelog

Check the CHANGELOG to get more information about the latest changes.

Upgrading

Check the UPGRADE guide to get more information on how to update this library to newer versions.

License

The MIT License (MIT). Please see License File for more information.

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