At Prepared Schooling, our core values middle on scholar success in larger schooling and giving college students the instruments they must be profitable. One of many instruments we offer college students is the power to handle and monitor their attendance at occasions on campus. These may embrace lessons, occasions, or providers hosted by the establishment. Because the pandemic has developed our wants for occasion engagement, deep linking improves scholar expertise by providing an uninterrupted consumer expertise as they transfer between purposes.
Prepared Schooling’s attendance monitoring system data a scholar’s presence at a selected occasion by encouraging them to scan an event-specific QR Code. After we architected this technique, it was centered on supporting college students who had been bodily current on campus and would scan QR codes at occasions to file that they had been there.
Then the pandemic hit, and many colleges, faculties, and universities went partially or utterly digital. We realized we wanted to change the system to permit for attendance monitoring at digital occasions, equivalent to people who may happen through video conferencing.
We wished a approach for college students to register their attendance by opening a hyperlink shared with them, whatever the platform they used to entry the hyperlink (i.e. net or cell). Cellular deep hyperlinks appeared like the perfect method to lengthen our platform and supply a seamless occasion engagement expertise.
What are Deep Hyperlinks and Why Do They Matter to Pupil Expertise?
Odds are that if you happen to use a smartphone, you’re already accustomed to deep hyperlinks. When you’ve ever wished to share content material from an app in your telephone with another person, you’ll usually do this utilizing a URL. After they open that URL on their telephone, it takes them to content material on an app or triggers an motion if they’ve the corresponding app put in. In the event that they don’t have the correct app put in, they’re generally redirected to their app retailer to get the app, or they could be redirected to an internet web page in the event that they open the hyperlink in an internet browser. Deep hyperlinks present quite a lot of flexibility on the subject of sharing content material throughout a number of platforms.
How the Prepared Schooling Pupil Connection Platform Makes use of Deep Hyperlinks
The first modes of interacting with the Prepared platform are the student-centered iOS, Android cell apps, and the web-based Campus Cloud CMS for directors.
On the Campus Cloud when a brand new occasion, service, or well being and wellness kind is created, a shareable URL for the created useful resource is generated and may be shared with others. This distinctive shareable URL is prefixed with every establishment’s particular person subdomain, guaranteeing a customized branded expertise for every of our associate faculties.
When a scholar opens the shareable hyperlink from their cell gadget with the app put in, the scholar’s attendance on the occasion is recorded. Moreover, if the shareable hyperlink is being opened from a cell app however the campus app is not put in, the consumer is redirected to their gadget’s app retailer to put in the app. Lastly, if the shareable hyperlink is opened from a desktop browser, an internet web page which is hosted on the varsity’s particular subdomain-prefixed URL is opened, which then masses extra details about the useful resource.
Deep Linking for Deep Increased Schooling Expertise Stacks
Many larger schooling expertise and IT groups have complete expertise necessities; they should help a variety of apps and wish these apps to work collectively seamlessly. That’s why we help deep-linking between greater than 200 cell apps for our companions. Many comprehensive guides can be found for establishing deep hyperlinks for a single cell app and area on each iOS and Android platforms. As part of providing our associate establishments a customized branded expertise for his or her app platform, we automated this configurability in order that Campus Cloud CMS customers can simply share deep hyperlink URLs with out handbook intervention.
Setting Up Deep Hyperlinks for A number of Apps and Domains
For our deep hyperlink implementation, we determined to arrange a wildcard area (*.instance.com) on AWS Route53, which might enable us to map distinctive subdomain prefixes to at least one base area. We then initialized a bucket on AWS S3 and configured it to host static websites, with the intention that every fully-qualified area identify could be mapped to a novel key or subdirectory within the bucket. This key would in flip be named in keeping with the subdomain-prefix of the fully-qualified area identify (e.g. ‘prepared.instance.com’ would comprise a ‘subdirectory’ within the s3 bucket with the identify ‘prepared’). Every prefix-named subdirectory would additionally host a customized web-app for the respective faculty’s deep linking web site.
At this level, you could be considering: “Maintain on, internet hosting a number of static websites on S3? I believed S3 solely allowed internet hosting a single static website per bucket.”
You’d be appropriate; nevertheless, we will leverage a single S3 bucket to serve a number of websites through the use of a mixture of AWS Cloudfront and the Lambda@Edge serverless operate, which acts as middleware sitting between Route53 and our S3 bucket. Our serverless lambda rewrites the URI and maps the deep hyperlink URL to the particular prefix-named subdirectory in our S3 bucket the place the associate faculty’s branded deep hyperlink net web page is loaded.
Be aware: An analogous end result may have been achieved utilizing a separate server with Nginx/Apache configured to map incoming deep hyperlink URLs to their respective s3 bucket subdirectories.
How We Automated the Branded Deep Linking Course of
To ensure that us to quickly roll-out enhancements to associate establishments, we wished the deep linking course of to deal with the heavy lifting concerned in offering a branded expertise, so our prospects may give attention to configuring their campus apps. When a brand new associate faculty is onboarded to our platform or an present associate needs to alter the configuration of their apps, our automated construct system creates a novel subdomain for the varsity and the following prefix-named subdirectory within the s3 bucket that hosts their deep hyperlink webpage. The construct system then builds and deploys their iOS and Android apps with the varsity’s customized configuration, together with any new options they wish to allow. Our apps deploy with deep linking figuring out of the field.
Subsequent Steps: Deep Linking within the Prepared Schooling App
At Prepared Schooling, we’re devoted to repeatedly bettering the scholar expertise to assist construct on-line communities which are important for scholar success. To this finish, we’re enthusiastic about two updates which are within the works for deep linking
1. Creating shorter shareable URLs by making our customized hyperlink minifier.
Many customers discover it simpler to work with shortened URLs, since they are often shared extra simply and take up much less visible house when included within the content material. We’re engaged on rolling out a minifier system that may shorten our branded deep hyperlinks, whereas preserving their customized branding.
2. Supporting deferred deep hyperlinks.
When opening a shareable URL on a cell gadget that does not have the app already put in, the consumer is redirected to the respective app retailer to put in the app. Upon putting in the app, the context of the earlier shareable hyperlink is misplaced and the consumer has to open the hyperlink once more to be taken to the suitable location on the app. Deferred deep hyperlinks circumvent this by maintaining this context and opening the app to the precise location on the primary launch of the newly put in app.