Day 7: Shorturl service

Today, we will develop a url shortening service like or something


import jester, asyncdispatch, htmlgen, json, os, strutils, strformat, db_sqlite
  • jester: is sinatra like framework

  • asyncdispatch: for async/await instructions

  • htmlgen: to generate html pages

  • json: to parse json string into nim structures and dump json structures to strings

  • db_sqlite: to work on sqlite databse behind our application

Database connection

# hostname can be something configurable "http://ni.m:5000"
let hostname = "localhost:5000"
var theDb : DbConn
  • hostname is the basepath for our site to access it, and can be configurable using /etc/hosts file or using even reverse proxy like caddy, or in real world case you will have a dns record for your site.

  • theDb is the connection object to work with sqlite database.

if not fileExists("/tmp/mytest.db"):
  theDb = open("/tmp/mytest.db", nil, nil, nil)
  theDb.exec(sql("""create table urls (
      url  VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL
  theDb = open("/tmp/mytest.db", nil, nil, nil)
  • We check if the database file doesn't exist /tmp/mytest.db we create a urls table otherwise we just get the connection and do nothing

Jester and http endpoints

  • jester defines a DSL to work on routes
  • METHOD can be get post or any http verb

  • ROUTE_PATH is the path accessed on the server for instance /users, /user/52, here 52 is a query parameter when route is defined like this/user/@id

HOME page

Here we handle GET requests on /home path on our server:

 get "/home":
  var htmlout = """
      <title>NIM SHORT</title>

        function postData(url, data) {
          // Default options are marked with *
          return fetch(url, {
            body: JSON.stringify(data), // must match 'Content-Type' header
            cache: 'no-cache', // *default, no-cache, reload, force-cache, only-if-cached
            credentials: 'same-origin', // include, same-origin, *omit
            headers: {
              'user-agent': 'Mozilla/4.0 MDN Example',
              'content-type': 'application/json'
            method: 'POST', // *GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc.
            mode: 'cors', // no-cors, cors, *same-origin
            redirect: 'follow', // manual, *follow, error
            referrer: 'no-referrer', // *client, no-referrer
          .then(resp => resp.json())

      $(document).ready(function() {
        $('#btnsubmit').on('click', function(e){
          postData('/shorten', {url: $("#url").val()})
          .then( data => {
            let id = data["id"]
            $("#output").html(`<a href="%%hostname/${id}">Shortlink: ${id}</a>`);
              <input type="url" name="url" id="url" />
              <button id="btnsubmit" type="button">SHORT!</button

          <div id="output">

    htmlout = htmlout.replace("%%hostname", hostname)
    resp  htmlout
  • Include jquery framework

  • Create a form with in div tag with 1 textinput to allow user to enter a url

  • override form submission to do an ajax request

  • on the button shorturl click event we send a post request to /shorten endpoint in the background using fetch api and whenever we get a result we parse the json data and extract the id from it and put the new url in the output div

  • resp to return a response to the user and it can return a http status too

Shorten endpoint

  post "/shorten":
    let url = parseJson(request.body).getOrDefault("url").getStr()
    if not url.isNilOrEmpty():
      var id = theDb.getValue(sql"SELECT id FROM urls WHERE url=?", url)
      if id.isNilOrEmpty():
        id = $theDb.tryInsertId(sql"INSERT INTO urls (url) VALUES (?)", url)
      var jsonResp = $(%*{"id": id})
      resp Http200, jsonResp
      resp Http400, "please specify url in the posted data."

Here we handle POST requests on /shorten endpoint

  • get the url from parsed json post data. please note that POST data is available under request.body explained in the previous section

  • if url is passed we try to check if it's there in our urls table, if it's there we return it, otherwise we insert it in the table.

  • if the url isn't passed we return a badrequest 400 status code.

  • parseJson: loads json from a string and you can get value using getOrDefault and getStr to get string value, there's getBool, and so on.

  • getValue to get the id from the result of the select statement returns the first column from the first row in the result set

  • tryInsertId executes insert statement and returns the id of the new row

  • after successfull insertion we would like to return json serialized string to the user $(%*{"id": id})

  • %* is a macro to convert nim struct into json node and to convert it to string we wrap $ around it

Shorturls redirect

  get "/@Id":
    let url = theDb.getValue(sql"SELECT url FROM urls WHERE id=?", @"Id")
    if url.isNilOrEmpty():
      resp Http404, "Don't know that url"
      redirect url
  • Here we fetch whatever path @Id the user trying to access except for /home and /shorten and we try to get the long url for that path

  • If the path is resolved to a url we redirect the user to to or we show an error message

  • @"Id" gets the value of @Id query parameter : notice the @ position in both situation



start jester webserver

Code is available here