URL Shortener Microservice Retrospective


The url shortener microservice project was my first back-end project that required a database. I used MongoDB to take a URL, create an ID for that URL, and return both the original submitted URL and the new 'shortened' URL using the ID parameter.

One tricky part about this project was getting the database hosted somewhere and hooking up the Heroku app to that database. I used mLab for hosting my Mongo database free of charge!

The Server-side Development with NodeJS course on Coursera was instrumental for this project. I wouldn't have made it through without the guidance this course provided. It covers Node, Express, MongoDB, and Mongoose, so you can use it to learn everything you might need for the M, E, and N parts of the MEAN stack.

Code Review

This project was exciting because it was the first project where I actually used a database and stored data submitted by a user. I wrote my first database operations file and used that to handle user input and fetch shortened urls to display back to the user.

It's been a while since I created this application and it was my only exposure to MongoDB, so I don't really remember much about the actual code. I can roughly read it and know what it's doing, but I am not able to tell whether what I wrote is any good!

The biggest area for improvement here is just getting a lot more practice and experience using MongoDB.

Future Improvements

As far as improvements go, I don't think I will rewrite any of these first stabs at Node/Express apps. I view them as much more learning experiences rather than applications that should be maintained. That said, I'm happy to have done them and gotten my first steps into the scary back-end!

This url shortener project will be a good reference when I move on to the full stack projects.