What Is Deep Link and App Link Android?

Android, Android Apps

Deep linking and app linking are two important concepts in Android development that allow users to navigate directly to specific content within an app. These features provide a seamless experience for users by eliminating the need to search for the desired content manually. In this article, we will explore what deep linking and app linking are, how they work, and their benefits.

Deep Linking

Deep linking is a technique that allows users to access specific pages or screens within an app directly from an external source, such as a website or another app. It enables developers to create links that open their app and navigate users to a specific location within the app’s interface.

Deep links consist of a URL scheme or Universal Link (in case of iOS) that identifies the app and the specific content. For example, consider a news application where each news article has a unique identifier. A deep link for a particular article might look like this:

newsapp://article?id=12345

In this example, “newsapp” is the custom URL scheme for the news application, and “article?id=12345” identifies the specific article with ID 12345.

To handle deep links in an Android app, you need to define intent filters in your app’s manifest file. These intent filters specify which URLs or URL patterns should be handled by your app. When a user clicks on a deep link, Android checks if any installed apps can handle it based on their intent filters and then opens the appropriate app.

App Linking

App linking is an evolution of deep linking introduced in Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) that allows apps to associate themselves with web URLs automatically. With traditional deep links, users are often prompted with a dialog asking them which app they want to use to open a particular link. App linking eliminates this prompt by automatically opening the associated app if it is installed on the device.

App links are enabled by adding a Digital Asset Links file to your website’s domain. This file contains information that links your app to the website, establishing a trusted connection between them.

When a user clicks on an app link, Android checks if the associated app is installed and if the Digital Asset Links file is present on the website. If everything matches, the app opens automatically without any user intervention.

Benefits of Deep Linking and App Linking

Deep linking and app linking offer several benefits for both users and developers:

  • Improved User Experience: Deep linking and app linking allow users to seamlessly navigate between websites and apps, providing a more intuitive and efficient experience.
  • Increased User Engagement: By directing users to specific content within an app, deep links encourage engagement with that content instead of relying solely on web-based interactions.
  • Streamlined Onboarding: Deep links can be used during user onboarding processes, guiding new users directly to relevant screens or features within an app.
  • Easier Marketing Campaigns: Deep links can be shared across various channels like social media or email campaigns, enabling precise tracking of user interactions and campaign effectiveness.

In conclusion

Deep linking and app linking are powerful techniques that enhance the user experience by allowing direct access to specific content within an app. By implementing deep linking in your Android apps, you can provide a seamless transition between web-based content and native features, ultimately improving engagement and user satisfaction.

To learn more about implementing deep linking in your Android app, refer to the official Android documentation and explore various libraries and frameworks available to simplify the process.