One of the best things about smartphones and mobile apps is the ease of use and some of the great user experiences that we get when doing every day things. Not everything on our mobile devices is easy and convenient though. Namely linking. Linking between apps is not non existent, but it’s hardly as accessible as linking via the web where all that’s required is the link that jumps to the designated web page you’re trying to go to. For linking on mobile within apps, integrating the links requires hard coding, which each developer of their respective apps has to do the work for. Currently there isn’t an easy way to have links easily implemented so users can just tap on a link in one app and have it take them to the app where they can complete whatever it is they’re trying to do. As an example, let’s say that you’re looking up a review on a bicycle headlamp and you’re using a specific app to do so. Say you find the one you want and are ready to buy, there isn’t currently an easy way to just tap a link that would open up that page to purchase within say the REI app, you would have to leave the app where you were reading up about the product you wanted, then go find it in the other app to purchase it.
Facebook wants to change all this, and has partnered together with a team of developers to bring forth a new easy standard for ways to incorporate deep links within apps, without all the headache and pain of having to add in tons of code within each app so they could talk to each other. This new standard is called App Links, and what it aims to do is allow for app developers to add in a few lines of code that essentially builds the deep links within apps so that users can have a true cross platform experience with links. App Links was designed with a cross platform nature in mind, so this means that it works across windows phone devices, Android, and iOS, as well as the web and mobile applications for a truly cross platform linking experience.
Sharing between apps is something that App Links could end up making much more wide scale, so that everyone can have an all around easy experience enjoying the content they use on a daily basis. Right now there are already a number of applications and developers that have built in App Links like streaming music service Spotify and Endomondo. App Links is free and open source and apparently is insanely easy to implement as the team at App Links states that all you have to do is add in a couple tags to make things work. You can find more in depth information on how to get started if this is something that you’re interested in implementing in your own app by hitting the link below.