Deep Linking

Awesome sauce

What are Deep Links?

The Web is 25 years old. The main feature is links — the ability to link two documents across the Internet. We use URLs every day. Did you ever wonder what HTTPS:// is all about?

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a subset of a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). I mention this if you are interested to learn more about the Web.

Okay, so what does HTTPS:// mean?

HTTPS:// is the protocol used to define the location of a resource. URLs are usually HTTP (not-secure) or HTTPS (secure).

If you are on a mobile device (iOS or Android), you likely have pressed on a link in the mobile browser which opened the installed app for that resource rather than taking you to a new website. That’s deep linking!

Web page URL —> mobile application (instead of another web site)

In other words the protocol is something other than http(s).

https://kirbyshabaga.com

app://com.shabaga.kirby/[optinal data]

Deep Links are fantastic!

The Gripe

NOTE: I run beta software on most of my devices (except macOS)

The screenshot below shows a somewhat confusing message when entering a deep link on macOS (desktop).

Apple News does exist on Big Sur?

The action above was initiated from macOS Apple News to macOS Safari. It’s just odd messaging.

The Solution

Protocols are not defined for every application. It is up to the application whether they support deep linking or not. I wonder if a defined protocol for deep links (including fallback options) would help?

The case above highlights the importance of Warning and Error messages.

References

  1. Apple (iOS) - Universal Links for Developers

  2. Android - Deep Linking Guide

  3. Wikipedia - Mobile Deep Linking

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