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How To Build a Beautiful and Seamless App Sharing Experience for Web

By April 23, 2015 No Comments

Let’s face it: your future users are going to find your mobile app through a million and one different paths, on an extremely wide variety of devices. Even the same user will likely go through the end to end process of discovering your app, downloading it, opening it, and ultimately making use of it, on 2 or 3 different devices . Even with most mobile web surfing taking place in apps these days, 15% of these pathways still take place in a mobile web browser . Building a way of sharing links, attributing downloads to specific users and pathways, and then of course continuing that process endlessly from mobile web to native mobile in order to nurture viral growth could, become insanely complicated.

And remember, the impression you make with the user experience of your app begins from the very moment your next potential user sees your app’s name or icon. So you had better put your heart and soul into building this – just like you did when you stayed up until 3am slamming energy drinks to build your app. Because it’s going to touch a lot of people.

Once again, Branch has you covered. Because we’re developers too, we understand how time consuming this would be to build even given a public API. There’s no need to build it more than once. So may we present our Web SDK!

Launching today is a clean and shiny v1.0.0 Web SDK wrapped up into a tiny 7K gzipped Javascript bundle of goodness. The SDK requires no frameworks or outside dependencies, and can be installed with just a few lines of code.

The new SDK boasts 3 major categories of methods: Links , Identities , and Referrals . If you already have it integrated, we’ve made it as easy as possible to transition from the previous Web SDK by providing depreciation remarks in the README.

Creating deep links with the new Web SDK

Creating links with the Web SDK is straightforward, with the asynchronous method link() . This method returns a deeplink as a string, when supplied with an object literal of the embedded link data as the first argument. One of the most common use cases of this method, is to create a link that automatically directs the user to either the iOS or the Google Play store. Thus, the Web SDK comes with a fantastic universal app sharing banner out of the box – again no Javascript or CSS frameworks required for this.

Web SDK Banner

The Banner’s style and functionality is automatically device specific, showing an SMS link sending form on desktop, or Android and iOS styled Download/Open links on mobile devices. Only with Branch, in just a few lines of code, can you enable seamless deep linking from your web app into your mobile apps !

Attributing app downloads with a unique identifying string

If you want to go even further with the deep linking integration from of your web app and your mobile apps, the Branch Web SDK also adds in referral and identity functions. When you have a unique identifying string available (i.e. the user is logged in on your website), simply call setIdentity () with a unique identifying string. This will allow you to attribute new downloads with the links that user creates, track events, and view and redeem credits!

Straightforward documentation of the Web SDK, along with code snippets and a complete working example webpage, are available on the Web SDK Github repository .

If you are using Branch in your mobile apps and your product has any sort of a web presence, you are leaving potential new users on the table by not streamlining their flow of moving from web to mobile. Investing the few minutes it takes to integrate the new Web SDK leads to more and happier users!