Mobile deep linking

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In the context of the mobile apps, deep linking consists of using a uniform resource identifier (URI) that links to a specific location within a mobile app (i.e. exampleApp://location/123456), rather than simply launching the app (i.e. exampleApp://). Depending on the mobile device, the URI required to trigger the app may be different (e.g. exampleiOSApp://location/123456 versus exampleAndroidApp://launch?location=123456).

Deep linking and mobile operating systems

Unlike the Web, where the underlying technology of HTTP and URLs allow for deep linking by default, enabling deep linking on mobile apps requires these apps be configured to properly handle a uniform resource identifier (URI).[1][2] Just like a URL is an address for a website, a URI is the address for an app on a mobile device. Examples of URIs that launch a mobile app:

twitter:// is the iOS URI to launch Twitter’s mobile app
YouTube:// is the iOS URI to launch YouTube’s mobile app

The format of the URI used to trigger or deep link an app is often different depending on the mobile operating system. Android devices works through intents, BlackBerry 10 devices works through BB10’s invocation framework, Firefox OS devices works through Web Activities, iOS devices works through the openUrl application method, and Windows Phone 8 devices works through the UriMapper class. Examples of URIs that deep link directly into a mobile app:

eBay://launch?itm=360703170135 is the URI that deep links into eBay’s iOS mobile app
eBay://item/view?id=360703170135 is the URI that deep links into eBay’s Android mobile app

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