Shrinking URLs on iOS

One of the most read entries on this blog happened in August of this year.  I had written a post called “A Fresh Start” and it dealt with the real advantage of a new school year and how it lets teachers re-invent themselves every year with the coming of a new class.  The link to this posting is at: https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/a-fresh-start/.

Like most blog postings, the URL is a little daunting and requires some careful typing, or copy/pasting or access by a link or QR code or something.  In a Twitter message, the content would take up a whack of the 140 characters available!   Typically, if I was to find a link like that and retweet it, I would use a URL shortener to take the long URL and make it considerably shorter.  There are lots of shorteners available for your use, free of charge – my preference is bit.ly because you can create an account on bit.ly and get some really interesting analytics if you’re so inclined.

In the traditional computer world, it’s a pretty easy process with the appropriate plugin to your browser and certainly Seesmic Desktop does a nice job of shrinking URLs.  But, what happens when you’re using an iOS device?

To the rescue, comes a sweet little application called shrinkURL.  It’s sole purpose is to take a big URL like my blog post example above and run it through a URL shortener to give you a small one for easy sharing.  It supports bit.ly, j.mp, and TinyURL.  Just select the one that you’re going to use.

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That’s all that you really need to do to get started.  If you have a bit.ly account, you do have the option of entering a Username and API key.  Using it couldn’t be easier.

In Mobile Safari or whatever browser you’re using, just highlight and copy the URL to be shortened.  Open the shrinkURL application and the contents of the clipboard are automatically sent to the shortening service and you’re presented with the shorter link for sharing.  The whole process requires little user interaction once it’s configured.

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Take the results and share them.  shrinkURL also has a handy history feature so that you can keep track of the URLs that you’re shortening using the application.  What could be easier?

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