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Flutter Apprentice

Fourth Edition · Flutter 3.16.9 · Dart 3.2.6 · Android Studio 2023.1.1

Section II: Everything’s a Widget

Section 2: 5 chapters
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Section IV: Networking, Persistence & State

Section 4: 6 chapters
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9. Deep Links & Web URLs
Written by Vincent Ngo

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Sometimes, opening your app and working through the navigation to get to a screen is just too much trouble for the user. Redirecting to a specific part of your app is a powerful marketing tool for user engagement. For example, generating a special QR code for a promotion that users can scan to visit that specific product in your app is a cool and effective way to build interest in the product.

In the last chapter, you learned how to use GoRouter to move between screens, navigating your app in a declarative way. Now you’ll learn how to deep link to screens in your app and explore web URLs on the web.

Take a look at how Yummy looks in the Chrome web browser:

By the end of this chapter, you’ll:

  • Have a better understanding of the router API.
  • Know how to support deep linking on iOS and Android.
  • Explore the Yummy app on the web.

You’ll learn how to direct users to any screen of your choice.

Note: You’ll need to install the Chrome web browser to view Yummy on the web. If you don’t have Chrome, you can get it here. The Flutter web project can run on other browsers, but this chapter only covers testing and development with Chrome.

Understanding Deep Links

A deep link is a URL that navigates to a specific destination in your mobile app. Think of deep links like a URL address you enter into a web browser to go to a specific page of a website rather than the home page.

Deep links help with user engagement and business marketing. For example, if you’re running a sale, you can direct the user to a specific product page in your app instead of making them search for it.

Just imagine, your app Yummy is a user-friendly food app that allows customers to quickly scan a QR code at restaurants, instantly access menus and seamlessly deep-link to detailed restaurant pages in for an enhanced dining experience.

With deep linking, Yummy is more automated. It brings the user directly to the restaurant page making it easier to view the menu. Without deep linking, the process is more manual. The user has to launch the app, navigate to the Explore tab find the correct restaurant, or search the restaurant name, and finally get to the restaurant page to view the menu. That takes three steps instead of one and likely some head-scratching, too!

Types of Deep Links

There are three types of deep links:

Getting Started

Note: We recommend you use the starter project for this chapter rather than continuing with the project from the last chapter.

Project Files

Before diving in, you need to be aware of some new files.

New Flutter Web Project

The starter project includes a pre-built Flutter web project.

Setting Up Deep Links

To enable deep linking on iOS and Android, you must add metadata tags on the respective platforms. These tags have already been added to the starter project.

Setting Up Deep Links on iOS

Open ios/Runner/Info.plist. You’ll see some new key-value pairs, which enable deep linking for iOS:


Setting Up Deep Links on Android

Open android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml. Here you’ll also find two new definitions in the <data> tag:

<!-- Deep linking -->
<meta-data android:name="flutter_deeplinking_enabled" android:value="true" />
<action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
<category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
<category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
  android:host="" />

Overview of Yummy Paths

Yummy has many screens you can deep link to. Here are all the possible paths you can direct your users to:

Path: /

The app initializes and checks the app cache to see if the user is logged in.

mikrn://jimewa.jup/cujon xoywj://fizuco.ked/