Universal Links is a technology that consolidates the links of your webshop with your app. This means that once customers have downloaded your app, the next time they encounter a web link the app will open by default. 

View the video below to see how Universal Links work:




How do universal links at Highstreet work?

1. When a user downloads your app the app will make a request to the domain of your website in order to download a configuration file. This step authenticates the app with your website and configures the device to associate links to your website with the app.

2. Now that the app is authenticated with your website, every time a user clicks on a link to your website (by clicking on a google search result in a web browser for example) then the app will be opened instead of the devices' default web browser.

3. The app will then make a request to the original url of the link and download the webpage. It will then look for a meta tag that contains the app specific link for that webpage. This is something you will have to configure on your website. If that link is valid then the app will open the correct view. For example a product detail view.

How to setup universal links on your website

1. Upload the correct configuration files to your website domain for both iOS and Android. Details on how to do this can be found below.

2. Add the correct meta tags to your webpages. This is needed to ensure that the correct page is opened in the app. full details can be found here


Configuration file for iOS

Highstreet supports Universal Links already, but to enable this feature for your iOS app a configuration JSON file, the Apple App Site Association file, should be uploaded to your server. Apple uses this file to verify that the app belongs to the website.


Highstreet will provide you with the Apple app site association file you must then place it in your site’s .well-known directory. The file should be served with the content-type ‘application/json’ and it is important that the file is served via HTTPS. The file’s URL should match the following format: 

https://yourdomin/.well-known/apple-app-site-association


Configuration file for Android

Before Universal Links can be up and running for your Android app as well, you need to implement the Asset Links Configuration File. You will receive this file from our team during the implementation process.


Highstreet will provide you with the assetlinks file you must then place it in your site’s .well-known directory. The file should be served with the content-type ‘application/json’ and it is important that the file is served via HTTPS. The file’s URL should match the following format:

https://yourdomin/.well-known/assetlinks.json


You can test if Google reads the file correctly on your domain:



Things to Note

If the webpage does not contain the meta tag of the app specific link then the app will first be opened but then immediately direct the user to the default web browser of the device.


Behaviour of Universal Links on iOS
Apple says the following regarding the behaviour of Universal Links:

'When a user taps a universal link that you handle, iOS also examines the user’s recent choices to determine whether to open your app or your website. For example, a user who has tapped a universal link to open your app can later choose to open your website in Safari by tapping a breadcrumb button in the status bar. After the user makes this choice, iOS continues to open your website in Safari until the user chooses to open your app by tapping OPEN in the Smart App Banner on the webpage.'

Read more about it here.


Feel free to contact us in case you have any questions.