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Collector App - iOS -Hyper Link/Deep Link not working now?

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01-24-2017 12:24 PM
BradBolton
New Contributor III

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide...

 

 

(I'm not sure of software versions of each, but) Before updating to the latest iOS, 10.2.1, and the latest Collector for ArcGIS, 10.4.2, Collector was capable of opening another app's URL to a file located in another app. Now it appears that cannot happen in Collector. What has changed? Or am I missing something? The URL link works when it is pasted into the Notes app or the Explorer app.

 

In our case, we use the GoodReader app as file storage for pdf’s of parcel appraisal fieldcards. GoodReader has the ability for other apps to open pdf’s inside GoodReader, when you click the link (from their website: use Link button to copy a special URL link of a single selected file to clipboard. This URL link will have a special prefix gropen:// and will contain a full internal path to a selected file inside GoodReader's file storage. Any other iOS app that is capable of opening URL links (for example, todo-type or notebook-type app) can use this URL link to automatically launch GoodReader and open a file being linked. For example, you can create a "Read this book" todo task in a todo application and associate an URL link with this task in such a way that tapping this URL link in that other application will launch GoodReader and open this file of interest. If you invoke the Link action with several selected files, several URL links separated by line-breaks will be copied to clipboard.).

 

The Explorer for ArcGIS app appears to still allow the hyperlinking to the GoodReader app files, but not Collector. The attached screenshots should help indicate the linking issue. Note that a 'http' link will work, but not a link to another app. We need the local URL link (GoodReader) solution to work in a disconnected environment. Again, thanks for any information you can provide.

 

Thank you,

Brad

15 Replies
BrianShepard
Occasional Contributor

I’m not sure Esri ideas is appropriate. We have multiple support tickets in as these app updates negatively affected our business operations. I’m still not clear on why Esri needs to maintain an explicit list of URL schemes. As I understand from our app developers, they are able to handle this on iOS without any URL scheme specificity. Our schemes are declared with Apple and the OS handles the link/app pass off, using nothing more than  UIApplication.openUrl:options:completionHandler:.  Our links work from Safari, opening our apps and passing data to them.

The main issue is that our URLs are not hyperlinked automatically, and manually hyperlinking them in the pop up opens a useless, empty window within Collector rather than having the OS handle them.

If Esri really maintains a whitelist for http://, https://, and various URL schemes for goodreads, google maps, apple maps, adobe reader, and every other *://; can you please add cwsstem:// and cwsphoto://?  They’re declared with Apple and this would get us back to the productivity we had several months ago.

I would really love to resolve this.

Thanks,

Brian

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BrianShepard
Occasional Contributor

Doug,

I attempted to message you at your suggestion, but I'm unable to: "You can only send messages to your Friends / Connections (people following you). ".  If I can provide any more information about Collector/Explorer no longer handling our deeplinks for cwsstem:// and cwsphoto:// please let me know.

-Brian

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RobBlash
Regular Contributor

Hi Doug can you expand on this some more, or point to some other documentation that explains this better? We link to pdfs on a web server (http://) from ios devices and some links open in a mini browser in collector (hyperlinks from a custom popup) while others open directly in safari (layers with native popups).

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BrianShepard
Occasional Contributor

Although I can't answer your question directly, I did a bit of testing this morning.  With a standard feature pop-up, only certain URL schemes are "whitelisted".  This includes large scale, popular apps such as Good Reads, Google Maps, etc.  If a URL is used as an attribute and it's on the list it'll automatically format as a hyperlink.  http:// and http:// default to open in Safari on iOS.  Other URL schemes open in their respective app if that URL scheme has been registered with Apple.  Non-whitelisted URLs will not format as hyperlinks by default, but can be added as a link in a custom pop-up and as of April, these hyperlinks work as expected: they open the respective app which has had the URL scheme registered with Apple.

As to your question, I don't know why Collector doesn't treat http:// URLs the same in a custom pop-up, or what the use case is for opening a webpage in a tiny window within Collector.  I'm using an iPad, but I imagine it would be unusable on a smaller device such as a phone.  My guess would be that it was implemented as a security measure (as the custom URL whitelist was), but that doesn't make much sense as the behavior is different in a standard pop-up.

FWIW, http:// hyperlinks in custom pop-ups open in Safari from ESRI Explorer.  A possible work around is to use Explorer, or create a deeplink to Explorer, tap that link in Collector, tap zoom to my location in Explorer and use the pop-up on the feature there.  Having opened Explorer from the deeplink, you should have a button in the top left to go back to Collector.  Not at all elegant, but I'm not sure if or how quickly they'll update Collector.

They are working as expected in the Collector Aurora Beta, so maybe waiting that out is your best bet.

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RobBlash
Regular Contributor

Thanks for the detailed reply Brian. I'm working strictly with http:// hyperlinks so I would expect them to open in safari no matter where they are called from. It's good to know about the explorer work-around, though I need something streamlined. Added complexity in the workflow always comes back to get you somehow....

Also good to know it's working as expected (for now) in Aurora, since I haven't been able to carve out the time for any detailed testing there. I'll also have to look into good reads, as this seems like it may be another option to do what I'm trying to do here (link to some reference pdfs).

Doug Morgenthaler‌ or Derek Law‌ do you have any info on why http:// links are opening differently in custom popups vs native popups?

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BradBolton
New Contributor III

With the most recent iOS Collector update, deeplinks to GoodReader are now working. They are also working in iOS Explorer app.