Over the last few years, social networking and microblogging have gained vast popularity. This implies that several supporting services have also evolved, one of which is URL shortening.
Microblogs are known for their short and concise posts; therefore, adding long links to a post definitely requires a URL shortener.
Short Menu is a desktop application that provides access to such services. Moreover, a menu bar button and a global hotkey will be at your disposal every time you want to shorten URLs.
The installation takes only a few seconds, the price is minimal ($0.99 from the App Store) and the CPU usage is very low.
There isn't much to see as far as the user interface goes. Short Menu lives in your menu bar and its main GUI consists of a popover menu that provides two drop-down menus. One of them lists the shortening services and the other gives you access to the Preferences and About dialogs.
Everything looks pretty slick and aesthetic changes aren't necessary. Still, you can change the color of the popover menu to black or white from the Popover Color tab in the Preferences window.
Short Menu is a desktop alternative to the online URL shorteners. The advantage is that the application can be readily accessed from the menu bar (or via a global hotkey), without opening websites.
Even though you can also use various URL shortening extensions in your browser, Short Menu is system-wide, which means that it supports all browsers and other applications.
Shortening URLs using Short Menu is simple and straightforward. Once you copy a link, the app will automatically grab it from the clipboard. All you have to do now is to click on its menu bar item, then on the Shorten URL! button. The shortened URL will automatically be added to the clipboard and will become ready for use in an instant.
Another method, which is several times faster, is to use a global hotkey. Simply choose your favorite service and keyboard shortcut from the Quick Short tab of the Preferences and you'll be trimming URLs blazingly fast.
Each time you shorten URLs, a Growl notification will appear. In addition, when you encounter an error or paste links using the popover button, another Growl notification will appear. This is something that a web-based shortener doesn't do and it's a great addition to the list of features.
If this isn't enough for $0.99, Short Menu will also allow you to log in to your bit.ly account. Thus, every link you shorten with the bit.ly service within the application will be added to your bitmarks.
Furthermore, you can add other URL shortening services in the User-Defined Service tab of the Preferences window. You will also find here a few (vague) clues on how to do this.
The truth is that adding your own URL shortening service is a bit of a hassle, since not all URL shortening services (such as goo.gl) are supported. Nevertheless, users who are keen on adding a specific service shouldn't have a problem following the developer's instructions.
Another shortcoming is the fact that not all services work. In the official description, the developer stated that the te.tl service was shut down and it plans to remove it in a future update.
Among the thirteen services that were supposed to work, we have found two more “bad” ones: ou.gd and uCut.it, leaving you with the following eleven working services: tinyurl.com, bit.ly, j.mp, ur.cx, 2ty.cc, shrt.su, hop.me, su.pr, qr.cx, is.gd and v.gd.
Lastly, if you think that some services are clustering your list of URL shorteners, you can delete them. What's more, you can restore them at any time.
First of all, you will be able to shorten URLs with great speed and comfort via the menu bar popover or a user-defined global hotkey.
Secondly, the application supports Growl notifications, provides a good number of URL shorteners and allows you to add even more.
Adding other URL shortening services gave us headaches. As such, a Help menu or at least some better documentation is needed.
Short Menu is a fast and CPU-friendly tool designed to help you trim URLs as quick as possible. Although some of its services are not available, there are still plenty to choose from and you can add more with a bit of effort.
All in all, if you're an avid microblogger or just someone who often posts shortened URLs, then Short Menu will be a great addition to your app collection.
Here are some snapshots of the application in action: