Learn how we developed an iOS dating app messaging module with a link preview functionality

link preview in an online dating app in iphone

IOS Dating App Development: Implementing Link Preview In Messaging Module

Categories IOS | Mobile Applications

With advancements in technology, people started connecting with one another through the Internet via real-time messengers Yahoo to Gtalk leveling up through to Orkut and several other platforms.

The proliferation of social networking led to connecting millions of people across the world where users can present themselves by creating profiles, build connections, and express their feeling.

With their rising demand, the app developers undertook efforts to scale up features of these apps for increasing engagements and stand apart from the competitors.

Plenty of social networking apps have been launched in the past decade including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Linkedin, and more. With the revolution in mobile phone technology, phones are getting smarter, equipping the high-definition in-built cameras and other features which has encouraged various app developers across the globe to develop more such apps.

Taking this opportunity, our expert iOS developers at The Brihaspati Infotech recently developed a Tinder-like iPhone App where the client wanted us to create a detailed real-time messaging module with a link preview functionality.

What our iOS Dating App looked like?

While some people love to connect with one another, there is a large section looking online for a partner to date. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram not serving this purpose, online dating apps such as Tinder, OkCupid, eHarmony, have become the giants in this industry.

Based on their functionality, our team created a dating app that is addictive and appealing to its users. Apart from its eye-catching design, it comprises the following components:

  • Push Notification: Whenever your profile matches with someone, you get a message, or someone took interest with your profile, the users get a notification.
  • Matchmaking: Our apps algorithm is built in such a way that users get their best match. We have segmented the user profiles based on age, interests, location, mutual connections etc.
  • User Interface: We have kept the user interface simple and minimal so that it effortlessly leads to a successful user journey across the platform.
  • Loads of User Choices: Our team has focussed on providing a platform that offers an adequate amount of choices to all the users.
  • Custom Profiles: Our app enables users to visit and view different user profiles who they are interested in.
  • Profile Admin: Each user is offered an admin panel where users image, the total number of visitors, likes, posts, group chat, and many other controls are displayed.

Image 1

  • Location Targeting: Location targeting or mapping is one of the most critical features for an online dating platform. Our app using GPS and analytics segments the user profiles based on their location. They provide the ease to find ‘nearby’ user feasibly.
  • Popular Posts: Users can also see what’s popular on the app. You can share with your followers an image or a status just like other social channels.
  • Unwanted User: The app also provides the functionality where the users can report or block unwanted users.  
  • Messaging or Chat: When a person accepts the request of another person, the two-way communication begins in the messaging module. Partners exchange their views and feeling about each other so, messaging modules become a crucial part of a dating app.  This is a chat feature that keeps the platform lively as it is where the real ‘interactions’ take place.

     

    Chats allow you to see, connect with your online dating partner, and send quick messages. You can either have a one-to-one conversation or have multiple simultaneous conversations with different friends.

    You can send images, link share posts, texts, and emojis to talk your hearts out.

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Our Custom iOS Dating App Development

Our client wanted us to develop a dating app that facilitates an extensive and intuitive messaging module. However, the problem our client discussed with us was there were a lot of compromised links being shared on such websites and a lot of spam messages with links were being shared by the people in the network.

So, we recommended him to develop a link preview functionality in his messaging module where we can show an image and a snippet with the link in order to let people get an idea of what the link is about so that they could decide upon either to click on it. Realizing the importance of link previews in messaging modules, the client was excited to add link preview functionality in his app.

Though adding link previews using plugins is the most simple approach, however, due to the increased intricacies that could occur as the side-effects, we avoided that.

So, we opted for a custom approach. To read and write data on iOS, our iOS app development team used a FIRDatabaseReference as below:

Swift

Using the functions and commands of Firebase such as ‘setValue’ to save data to a particular reference, replacing any existing data at the path we were able to build up the whole app with attractive features.

Custom messaging module with link preview functionality

As we were supposed to provide a link of the file, snippet, and the image to another user while chatting in a messaging module, we accomplished this via custom coding.

Going back to the social apps, when a user shares a link post, the social channels use the information provided by social metadata to generate the rich previews of shared Dynamic Links, it appears as below:

example of link preview

In this example, a preview of Dynamic Link with the following metadata is specified which contains the title, description, and image.

Let’s next see what are the benefits of using Link Previews:

1. It provides a better user experience as they are more eye-catching and clickable than plain URLs.

2. Micro information provides the user with a rich preview of a title, thumbnail, and a description of the site you’re about to link to.

3. Moreover, adding link previews can help users make an informed decision either to click on a link or not.

But if sometimes the links previews in messaging/chatting apps do not display reviews, it can be one of these reasons:

  • If the web page of the shared link doesn’t include adequate embedded data.
  • You didn’t include the http://
  • If the same link was shared in the same conversation in the past hour.
  • If your text messages include five or more links.
  • If the shared YouTube or Vimeo videos are password-protected.

Keeping these in mind, we custom coded our messaging module for a link preview generation and it appeared as:

Link Preview in iOS dating app

Here in messages, a youtube link is displayed which shows:

  • A thumbnail
  • Title: Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls
  • Link description
  • And a link of youtube as m.youtube.com

Apart from a video link, there is a yelp review link which displays the information in the same sections.

Challenges faced in our IOS Dating App Development

1.) Parsing data from HTML code

The major challenge that we confronted was while parsing data from HTML to get the image, title, and subtitle related to that link. However, with the efforts of our team and assistance from Firebase which provided us with the real-time database, storage, and notification handling, we overcame this.

2.) Displaying another image

There were cases where we wanted to display some other image to the user instead of the main image. In that case, we set the functionality in our database where we provided an alternate image.

In one case, there were some common spam links that were shared on the client’s app. So, he asked us to add an image with a spam logo so that at a single glimpse of an image, users could figure out that link could present some unsolicited content.

Is this scalable?

As innovation is the key to success in any development process, extending our customized coding further we are looking to let users share real-time videos. Moreover, we are looking to merge the voice & video call in succession feature.

So, yes it is scalable.

Conclusion

Building the app was a challenge and so was adding the link preview section. However, providing attention to details, thorough app testing and continuous client feedback, our experts were able to deliver a feature-rich, seamlessly running iOS dating app.

If you are looking to develop any social networking app, then get in touch with our iOS App Development Company.