Sharing the Phimpme Android App using Firebase deep-linking

The share feature in the Android application is really important for the growth of your Android application and to increase the user base. In the Phimpme Android application, we have made use of the Firebase deep link to share the application as it is the most recommended way to do it. In this tutorial, I am discussing two ways to share your Android application with the help of code snippets below. The following are:

Generate the APK and share:

Sharing the APK of the application directly can be achieved very easily but it is the least recommended way to do this. To share the APK of the application via bluetooth or other applications, we can make use of the package manager to generate the apk and pass it to the share intent to get things done smoothly. The following code snippet will be used to generate the apk and to pass it on to the share intent.

PackageManager pm = getPackageManager();
ApplicationInfo ai = pm.getApplicationInfo(getPackageName(), 0);
File srcFile = new File(ai.publicSourceDir);
Intent share = new Intent();
share.setAction(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
share.setType("application/vnd.android.package-archive");
share.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_STREAM, Uri.fromFile(srcFile));
startActivity(Intent.createChooser(share, "APK"));

Sharing the application’s apk directly is not the most recommended way to do it as sometimes the apk generated by the PackageManager might not install properly in another device.

Using the Firebase Deep links:

The best thing about this is that it can behave differently when clicked on different devices. For example, you have Phimpme Android application installed in your mobile phone and someone else might send you the invitation link to download it again. So when you click on the deep link, rather than opening play store or any other storage from where you can download the apk, it will open up the Phimpme Application directly.

Due to these advantages, in the Phimpme Application, we have made use of this service to share the application. In this tutorial, I will discuss on how to achieve this step by step:

Step 1:

Sign in to your google account and go the Firebase console then click on the Add project button and fill in the Project name and your country and press Create Project button to proceed.

Step 2:

Click on Add firebase to your Android application button and fill in the your Android application’s package name and the SHA-1 key. You can generate this key very easily with the help of Android studio.

For this, import and open your Android application in Android studio and then press the Gradle button at the right hand side of your screen. It will open up the screen like that mentioned in the screenshot below:

Go to app>android> and double click on the signingReport and wait for the build to complete. On successful completion of the build, the SHA-1 key will be displayed on the Gradle console below.

Step 3:

Click on the register application button below to proceed. It will provide an option to download googleServices.json file but you can skip that as it is not necessary for sharing the application.

Step 4:

Click on the Dynamic links section and add create a new dynamic link. Fill in the link to locate your application and select the behaviour of how you want the link to behave on different devices. For example, in Android if the application is installed I want to directly open the application so I have made the configuration as seen from the screenshot below:

After doing this, click on the option to Create dynamic link from below and copy the generated link.

Step 5:

After generating the URL, you can simply create a share button in your android application and can share the application with the help of code snippet provided below:

Intent sendIntent = new Intent();
sendIntent.setAction(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
sendIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, getString(R.string.install_phimpme) + "\n "+ getString(R.string.invitation_deep_link));
sendIntent.setType("text/plain");
startActivity(sendIntent);

Now go to your String.xml and create a new String resource with name invitation_deep_link and copy the dynamic link you generated using the steps mentioned above.

Resources:

https://github.com/fossasia/phimpme-android

https://console.firebase.google.com/

https://github.com/fossasia/phimpme-android/pull/545