Introducing Opener

Tim Johnsen
Jun 1, 2015 · 2 min read

Since 2007 the ecosystem of apps has grown at a dizzying pace, and the quality of apps is high. Try as they might, mobile web apps aren’t usually of the same quality that native apps are. People expect to use native apps when on their phones.

But, apps don’t work well together, or with the web. The creators of apps usually want to keep people inside their app, and if they allow an exit it’s almost always to a mobile website instead of to another app. Mobile websites sometimes have buttons that allow people to open content within apps, but it’s a flaw that people have to load a page then tap a button to get to what they want. Big players like Twitter and Facebook have great first-party solutions, but those only work within their apps, not elsewhere. This great article put it quite plainly, deep links are broken.

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Various manifestations of “deep links”

Why don’t links just open in apps?

Today I’m happy to announce that I’ve built an app that helps fill in the gaps between apps. It’s called Opener, it takes in links from the web and opens them in apps on your phone instead.

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Opener has an action extension that shows in the iOS share sheet and allows people to open links in apps. This means you can long press on links or tap the action button in other apps to access Opener.

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Opener’s action extension

You can also copy a link and launch the Opener app to see a list of options if you’re in an app the doesn’t support the iOS share sheet.

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Opening a copied link in Opener

Opener currently supports opening links in about 50 apps, and I’m continuing to add support for new apps all the time. If there’s an app you’d like supported, you can request it via email within the app or tweet me at @openerapp.

Opener is available on the App Store starting today. Check it out here!

iOS App Development

Stories and technical tips about building apps for iOS…

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