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Deep Linking in Flutter: A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide

Introduction

Deep linking is a powerful feature in mobile app development that allows users to navigate directly to specific content or sections within an app from external sources, such as a website or another app. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk through the process of implementing deep linking in a Flutter application, covering both Android and iOS configurations.

Prerequisites

  • Flutter environment set up on your machine
  • Basic understanding of Flutter and Dart
  • An existing Flutter project or the willingness to create a new one for testing purposes

Adding Required Packages

First, you need to add the uni_links package to your Flutter project, as it simplifies the process of implementing deep linking. Open your pubspec.yaml file and add the following line under dependencies:

Yaml
dependencies:
  flutter:
    sdk: flutter
  uni_links: ^0.5.1

After adding the dependency, run flutter pub get in your terminal to install the package.

Android Configuration

To enable deep linking in your Android app, you need to modify the AndroidManifest.xml file located in the android/app/src/main directory of your Flutter project. Add the following intent filter inside the tag of your main activity:

Xml
<intent-filter>
    <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
    <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
    <data android:scheme="http" android:host="www.yourwebsite.com" />
</intent-filter>

iOS Configuration

For iOS, you need to add URL schemes to your project. Open your iOS project in Xcode, then navigate to the Info tab. In the URL Types section, click on the + button to add a new URL type. Enter a unique identifier and your URL scheme. For example:

Xml
<key>CFBundleURLTypes</key>
<array>
    <dict>
        <key>CFBundleURLSchemes</key>
        <array>
            <string>yoururlscheme</string>
        </array>
        <key>CFBundleURLName</key>
        <string>com.yourcompany.yourapp</string>
    </dict>
</array>

Replace yoururlscheme with the actual URL scheme you want to use for your app.

Handling Incoming Links in Flutter

With the necessary configurations in place, you're now ready to handle incoming links in your Flutter code. Import the uni_links package in your Dart file:

Dart
import 'package:uni_links/uni_links.dart';

To handle incoming links, use the getInitialLink() method to check for any links that launched the app and the linkStream for links received while the app is running. Here's a basic example:

Dart
void initState() {
  super.initState();
  getInitialLink().then((String? link) {
    // Handle the initial link if the app was launched by a link
  });

  linkStream.listen((String? link) {
    // Handle link received while the app is running
  });
}

This guide covers the basics of setting up and handling deep links in Flutter apps for both Android and iOS platforms. By following these steps, you can enhance the user experience of your Flutter application by allowing direct access to specific content within your app.

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