ALICE: how to make a URL shortener made in a very short time

A small tool for big brains, that’s how we describe our personal URL shortener. Created in three wonderful afternoons, project ALICE was supposed to happen in only one. Some unforeseen events led to a delay, but we’re still happy with the outcome.  I’ll explain the process later as well as the troubles we faced. Before that, let me just make a small introduction.

If you have been following Angry Ventures, you’ve probably heard about this kind of projects. The first one we did was SAUL. Like ALICE, SAUL had a quick launch. Instead of working on several projects at the same time, we decided to stop everything we were doing to focus on the same small project.

At the time, the results were a lot better than we expected. So, now, with a bigger team and a bit more experience, we decided to repeat the task. The problem was that project ALICE was a little bit trickier. And that’s what made her so amazing.

Our troubled (but still wonderful) ALICE

What you probably won’t notice is that ALICE started with other name and as a slightly different project. After a small meeting in which we decided what product we wanted to develop, we split into small teams. Each team was in charge of a group of specific tasks.

So, first things first: to unblock everything else, we needed a name. We took post its and we immediately started writing whatever came to our minds. Yes, some of the names were pretty bad and we knew our branding process wasn’t as deep as the ones we usually do. Despite, we were quite happy when someone came up with PETIT (which is French for “small”).

With a name and the main feature, we were already capable of making everything else, but… While we were searching for a GIF, we suddenly came across with Alice, the character from “Alice in Wonderland”. Team A-ha moment!

So, what if we changed the name and call our project ALICE? Like the Alice from the story, our URLS also shrink and get smaller. Plus, everyone recognizes the character for her curiosity and for her fearless personality. Something we can easily relate to here in Angry Ventures.

ALICE-Angry-Ventures

Deal with change and move on

After we had everything almost done, we faced a new challenge: our main feature wasn’t quite as we expected. The original idea was for someone to put their domain/company name and then ALICE could generate a shorter URL with the company name plus a personalized extension.

Guess what? We could only generate a personalized URL out of a domain we already owned. In short, there was no way to customize the domain/company name.

Emergency meeting! What should we do next? As a result, we decided to play by the rules of the game. Instead of creating a URL shortener for everyone, we created our own shortener that we could use internally. From now on, instead of shortening URLs through Bit.Ly, Google Shortener or Owl.Ly, we’ll now be using Angry.Pt, our own platform.

The importance of these small projects

The simple answer is because we really like the challenge. In terms of marketing, I believe that this kind of project helps us become recognizable and being part of the community.

So, the next time you see something like http://angry.pt/ALICE, you’ll know that it was something shortened by us.

If you want to shorten and customize your own URL , get in touch and we’ll help you out! Go ahead and explore wonderland with us!

feedback about the platform. We’ll really appreciate it!