Improve your travel experience: The power of assetlinks.json for seamless flight bookings

By
Gerry White
January 23, 2024

6 min read

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Improve your travel experience: The power of assetlinks.json for seamless flight bookings
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One of my biggest frustrations being someone who tries never to re-use passwords and have complicated ones every time is trying to checkin and use apps when the first part of my journey was on a laptop, which when you are booking flights and hotels is still easier.

Some apps seem to magically connect to my desktop browsing and others wouldn’t  I had to investigate what enabled this and I found  the assetlinks.json file! Today, we're diving into the world of assetlinks.json files, and why creating one is a game-changer for those booking flights online.

Why You Need an Assetlinks.json File

  1. Seamless Transition Between Website and App

You find a fantastic flight deal on your go-to travel website and decide to book it. Now, when you open the airline's app, wouldn't it be great if it recognized your booking instantly, skipping the hassle of entering your details all over again? That's where the assetlinks.json file comes into play. It acts as a digital handshake between your website and app, ensuring a smooth handover of information.

Let's face it – nobody enjoys repeatedly entering the same information. With an assetlinks.json file in place, users experience a seamless transition, saving time and eliminating frustration. The app can authenticate that you're the same person who made the booking on the website, creating a unified and hassle-free experience.

  1. Boosted Security and Trust

Worried about security? The assetlinks.json file ensures that the app recognizes the website as a trusted source, enhancing the overall security of your data. It's like having your own digital passport that vouches for the legitimacy of your online actions. Trust is the foundation of any successful online interaction, and the assetlinks.json file is here to strengthen it.

How to Create Your assetlinks.json File

Now that you're convinced of its benefits, let's roll up our sleeves and create your assetlinks.json file.

Upload to your website

Navigate to your website's hosting server. You'll need to place the assetlinks.json file in the .well-known directory at the root of your server. If the directory doesn't exist, create it.

Craft Your Assetlinks.json File

Open your favorite text editor and create a new file named assetlinks.json. Now, let's add the magic details:

[  {    "relation": ["delegate_permission/common.handle_all_urls"],    "target": {      "namespace": "android_app",      "package_name": "com.yourapp.package",      "sha256_cert_fingerprints": ["your_app_cert_fingerprint"]    }  }]

Replace "com.yourapp.package" with your app's package name and "your_app_cert_fingerprint" with your app's SHA-256 certificate fingerprint. How to generate that, is found here but your app developers will know how to do it - https://developer.android.com/training/app-links/verify-android-applinks

Upload the file

Save the file and upload it to a .well-known directory on your server, so it is here -

htttps://yoursite.com/.well-known/assetlinks.json

Tweaking the app The app needs a few tweaks to make sure the data is read and shared in the right places, this document at Google explains how to do this - https://developer.android.com/training/sign-in/passkeys

Test the configuration

First check in your browser the file has appeared correctly, then open your website in a browser and click a flight booking link. If everything is set up correctly, your app should launch automatically, seamlessly recognizing the user's booking details.

Voila! You've just elevated your user experience with an assetlinks.json file.

If you want to offer your users a frictionless transition from website to app, creating an assetlinks.json file is the way to go. It's like setting up the perfect travel itinerary – smooth, efficient, and stress-free. So, go ahead, take the plunge, and let your users enjoy the seamless magic of assetlinks.json! Safe travels! ✈️

Other examples

Of course it isn't just flight bookings that benefit, this is just an example that is either super frustrating or really rather seamless you can see the one for Just Eat for example here