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Universal Deep Link (UDL) Server

This is a server that bounces traffic to better leverage Deep Linking in mobile apps.

The project's objectives are to be a simple, effective and lightweight tool that can help any website provide a seamless integration with their mobile apps.

The server is hosted at https://udl.visualcosita.com open for public use, free of charge.

How it works, and why?

It's a dead simple pivot server that will allow for Universal Links to work with you app.

Modern mobile browsers provide developers with Universal Links (iOS) or Android Intents to support deep linking users from a website directly into a mobile app. However, Operating Systems currently won't trigger these features when the user clicks a link within the same domain or when the user types the URL directly in the address bar.

These and other edge cases make for a less than ideal experience, if your objective is to allow for a seamlessly transition to your mobile app. A custom banner (in your website) that links to an external site will trigger the deep linking though, and this is where the UDL Server comes in.

diagram

Self-hosting

Power users will likely need better reliability and scalability than a free service is able to offer. Self-hosting with Heroku (or similar SaaS platforms) is as easy as:

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Configure the app to automatically deploy to your Heroku account
    • Using a custom domain with Heroku is very simple (i.e. udl.your-domain.com)
    • Heroku's default subdomain works too (i.e. my-app.herokuapp.com)
  3. Keep up with upstream (this repo) for future updates
    • git remote add upstream git@github.com:fdoxyz/udl-server.git
    • git pull upstream main
    • git push origin main
  4. Configure AASA_APP_ID ENV variable to match your App Id
    • Use the team ID or app ID prefix, followed by the bundle ID (joined by a dot .).
    • This will allow your UDL Server to directly serve as a Universal Link target for your app and improve the experience
    • Example: R9SWHSQNV8.com.forem.app

Throttling, Safelist and Blocklist

The UDL Server uses Rack::Attack to protect itself against abuse. It will respond with a 429 instead of the expected redirect when this happens.

IP based throttling is enabled by default with a limit of 3 requests on a 10 second period, but only if you provide access to a Redis to work as cache (via REDIS_URL ENV variable). You can override these values by using UDL_THROTTLE_LIMIT and UDL_THROTTLE_PERIOD.

You can further restrict if the server will allow or deny a redirect based on passing in a regular expression via UDL_SAFELIST_REGEXP or UDL_BLOCKLIST_REGEXP. These regular expressions will be checked against the r param and will allow or deny the response (respectively). For example:

# All redirect requests for "tiktok.com" will be safelisted
# https://github.com/rack/rack-attack#safelisting
UDL_SAFELIST_REGEXP="^https:\/\/tiktok.com"

Read more about how Rack::Attack safelist/blacklist features work.

Troubleshooting

Some common details to keep in mind in case your redirects aren't working properly:

  • Make sure your redirects are all using https
  • You will likely need to make this request on a target="_blank" anchor tag in order to get Apple's Universal Links to work.
  • Make sure your iOS app has properly configured Associated Domains for the websites you want to support.
    • There's a chance it won't work in development mode (i.e. only signed with a Production certificate). I suggest releasing to TestFlight in order to properly test everything.

Contributing

Please check out the Contributing Guide.

Code of Conduct

This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct.

License

Released under an MIT License

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This is a server that bounces traffic to better leverage Deep Linking in mobile apps.

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