node package manager



A URL shortener based on Node.JS with a pluggable backend architecture


You can install shawty by doing an "npm install shawty" or by cloning the git repository at



Node MongoDB



I included all of the requirements in the node modules folder, but these could be removed at a later date to ensure the most up-to-date sources. At the time of writing this (11/9/12) the implementation was based on the latest versions of Node (0.8.14) and all of the requirements.


Start the server:

$ node shawty.js

The server will start by default on

Shorten a URL by sending a request to where urls-to-shorten is either a JSON list containing the urls that you want to shorten, or just a single string of a url to shorten.

The server will respond with a JSON response containing a JSON dictionary with the keys being the long urls and the values being the short URLS.


There is an included upstart configuration file. This should be slightly customized to the settings you need.


Shawty supports a pluggable architecture to use for the DB backend. Out of the box it comes with support for both MongoDB and local memory backends, however, the default configurations are based on the Mongo architecture. The plugins are stored in the ./plugins/ folder, but they can reside anywhere. You can specify the plugin to use with the -P option, supplying a path to the plugin.

The plugin itself should export an object named ShawtyServer, which should contain a run_server method and take the args passed into the application. To help with the implementation, a base server prototype has been provided in ./libs/shawty-plugin-base.js. You can implement the ServerBase prototype to implement your backend. The plugins provided should be a fairly straightforward documentation of how to do so.

Static Templates

Right now, the system supports serving other static templates by default using the /t/ url path and the file path to serve, served from the template-path directory argument. I may swap out this simplistic way of serving other static files in the future in favor of a better template hosting Node framework. When using the -i index page argument, this should be contained in the template-path as well.


If a URL is sent to Shawty without an http prefix, it will prepend http:// to the url. When the JSON is returned with the long URLs as keys, it will contain the prepended prefix. It is recommended to ensure your URLs are properly formatted to avoid this behavior, as it might cause some issues when attempting to retrieve the short url from the JSON response.

Extra Notes

I know this documentation is fairly sparse at this point, hopefully I can come back and document more when I have time. However, please feel free to post any questions or email me at

This was originally forked from little, but has been pretty much completely re-written. However, I still think the original project should be recognized, and I'm sure there are some places in the code where the original code is present.