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FireFly Build Status

FireFly is a simple URL shortener for personal (or not so personal) use.

About Firefly 2.0

Firefly 2.0 is a complete rewrite of the original Firefly URL shortener.

Some features that 2.0 will sport:

  • Fully ruby 1.9 compatible.
  • Easy to install and upgrade.
  • Support for postgres, sqlite3 and mysql.
  • Better documentation.

Among those features there are also some other significant changes:

  • No longer a gem, just a plain Rack application.

If you're looking to have a working install of Firefly, use the latest 1.5.3 version.

The master branch contains the next version, 2.0.0-pre, of Firefly and is not suitable for any kind of serious use at this time.


Get the code

Installation should be as easy as:

git clone mydomain
cd mydomain


Then, put the configuration in place:

cp config/database.example.yml config/database.yml
cp config/firefly.example.yml config/firefly.yml

Before you edit these, open up Gemfile and comment out the database gems you don't need. So, if you want to use Postgres, comment out the mysql2 and sqlite3 gems, like so:

gem 'pg'
# gem 'mysql2'
# gem 'sqlite3'

Next, open up config/database.yml and config/firefly.yml and configure everything according to your needs.


Run bundle install to install all gem dependencies.

Create your database


Just create a new database:

psql -c 'create database firefly_test;'


Make sure to create a database that uses the utf8 character set and utf8_bin collation. This is to ensure MySQL can lookup case sensitive strings.

mysql -e 'create database firefly_test character set utf8 collate utf8_bin;'


Nothing special to do here.

Run migrations

rake db:migrate

Start your Firefly


Supported rubies

The entire spec suite is run against the latest ruby-1.9.2 and ruby-1.9.3. These are the officially supported rubies.

The spec suite is also run against Rubinius in 1.9-mode and ruby-head. Although I strife to get these builds passing, they are not officially supported by me at this time.

jruby, ruby-1.8.x and others are currently not supported.

Deployments to Heroku

Heroku is a popular deploy target and is fully supported by Firefly. There's nothing holding you back from deploying to Heroku, except that the config/database.yml and config/firefly.yml files a currently ignored by git.

Edit, .gitignore and remove the entries for these files, commit your changes and push to Heroku.


I develop against Postgres and have Travis run the specs against MySQL and sqlite3.

To get your own environment setup, follow the installation guide, with the following twist:

  • Don't comment out the database gems. If you can't or don't want to install database specific gems, feel free to comment them out, but don't ever commit these changes

Then you should be able to run the spec suite like so:

RACK_ENV=test rake


Firefly was started in 2009 as side project to dive into the world of URL shorteners. I've been using Firefly since then for my own domain and many others have joined me.

After writing the last 1.5.x release in 2011 I kind of forgot about Firefly. Nearing the end of 2012 I picked it up again and I'm now in the process of dusting of the cobwebs and giving Firefly a nice make-over.

Note on Patches, Pull Requests and Issues

If you encounter an issue with Firefly, please feel free to create an issue in Github Issues.

In case you want to contribute, fork the project, create a feature or bugfix branch and sen in a pull request.

I prefer pull requests with only added failing specs over a pull request with working code and no specs.


Author: Ariejan de Vroom URL:


See LICENSE for more information.

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