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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Linking to Twitter from within your WP8 app

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Whether it directly relates to the content of an app or just from an about page, lots of apps contain links to Twitter that are opened in the web browser (IE).

Unfortunately, lots of apps do this wrong!

"Wrong? Really? What do you mean?" - I hear you ask.
Well, they don't do it in the quickest, simplest, and cheapest (in terms of network data costs) way.

They'll do it in, what I presume they think to be, the most obvious way. They'll open a Uri like this:
http://twitter.com/myreallyawesomeapp
"What's wrong with that?" - I hear you now ask.
Well, just type that (or, preferably, a valid username) in the browser on your phone and see.
Did you do it? Go on. I'll wait. It won't take long.

So, what happened?

That's right, it redirected.
It redirected to:
https://mobile.twitter.com/myreallyawesomeapp
There are two differences:
  1. It's changed to a different domain. (Notice the "mobile." bit before "twitter.com")
  2. It's now going over a secure (SSL) connection. (Notice the schema is now "https")

Most importantly, that change took time and an extra web request.
This all means that, unless they were on a very quick connection, the person using the app had to wait for this to happen. They were there waiting, staring at the screen while it was busy with unnecessary work. And all for the sake of typing seven characters.
I don't consider apps that force their users to wait unnecessarily to be providing the best experience possible.
#JustSaying

Triviality over. Normal service will resume soon. :)





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