I needed a personal URL redirection service to make it easier to publish more memorable url addresses. For example, if you want to see my LinkedIn profile you can now use the url http://aka.artokai.net/linkedin and you will be redirected to my linked in profile.
Actually I didn’t really NEED a url redirection service, but I wanted to have one. And that’s almost the same thing right? So I did a quick google search for available options and did not really like what I found. I wanted to host my redirection service in Azure and I wanted to keep the costs as low as possible. This meant that I did not want to pay for a database for example.
So when ASP.NET core 1.0 was released I decided to build my own url redirection service with only a minimal set of features and functionalities. The service, which I named Azurl, holds all url aliases in memory and therefore does not require a backing database server. To survive reboots the aliases are also serialized to disk in JSON format.
Azurl is just a url redirection service. It does not contain any user interfaces at all. All maintenance work (adding and removing aliases) are done through a JSON file stored in a GitHub repository. When this file is changed, Azurl receives a notification about it through a webhook registered in GitHub.
In the end I’m quite happy with the results. Editing the alias-configuration can be done directly from the GitHub UI and the new aliases are available almost immediately. Working with the new ASP.NET Core was also a nice experience. I really liked the new built-in dependency injection framework and configuration management model.
The service and sources can be found in http://aka.artokai.net/azurl =)