An Android utility app that resolves shortened links faster than your browser
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Linkbasher
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README.md

linkbasher

An Android utility app that resolves shortened links faster than your browser.

Available for free download on Google Play

Why?!

Created out of frustration after far too many instances of clicking on a YouTube link in the Twitter app thinking it would load the YouTube app, and instead being presented with my web browser.

The problem is that when you click on a youtube.com URL in the Twitter app, it actually launches an Intent with a shortened t.co URL rather than the youtube.com URL. So instead of the YouTube app launching, Chrome (or your chosen browser) does, adding an unnecessary and cumbersome additional step between Twitter and your chosen cat video.

In an ideal world, the Twitter app would just launch the expanded URL directly.

(This isn't restricted to just the Android Twitter app - other apps which launch shortened links sometimes manifest the same behaviour.)

What?!

Here's an example of the current situation:

  1. Click on youtube.com URL in Twitter app
  2. Browser is launched with t.co URL (wrapping the youtube.com URL)
  3. Browser carries on loading (it's a bit bloated)
  4. Browser finally loads (panting)
  5. Browser restores your previous session and tabs
  6. Browser opens a new tab for the t.co URL
  7. Browser follows t.co URL
  8. Browser resolves t.co URL to youtube.com URL
  9. Browser launches YouTube app (or maybe loads a tab with m.youtube.com if it's feeling mean)

But with Linkbasher:

  1. Click on youtube.com URL in Twitter app
  2. Linkbasher is launched with t.co URL
  3. Linkbasher follows t.co URL to get youtube.com URL
  4. Linkbasher launches appropriate app (e.g. YouTube)

Linkbasher is far quicker than opening your Browser just to resolve a shortened link :D

How?!

Linkbasher registers itself as a handler for some of the most-used link shortening services, such as t.co (Twitter), goo.gl (Google), bit.ly, tinyurl.com and ow.ly. When set as the default app for these domains, it is used to resolve these links to their expanded form, and then launches a new Intent with the resolved URL.

If the shortened link returns anything other than a 3xx HTTP status code, the user is prompted to choose a different app from those that are available (as if they clicked on the link in the normal fashion).

Really?!

Unfortunately, yes.

Drawbacks?!

Here are the obvious two:

  1. You have to click 'Linkbasher', 'Always' each time you click on a new shortened link domain.
  2. Linkbasher, unlike Chrome, doesn't compare URLs against Google's malware/ safe browsing API when following links. This shouldn't be a problem if the app loading the resolved URL is secure, but it's worth being aware of.

What's with all the ?!'s?!

I got a great deal on them in the boxing day sales.