Xamarin iOS

Inconsistent Universal links behavior on iOS 11.2

After updating a device to iOS 11.2, we found that the app's AASA file is no longer downloaded reliably onto your user’s device after an app install. As a result, clicking on Universal links will no longer open the app consistenly. You can set forced uri redirect mode on your Branch links to open the app with URI schemes. View details of the issue on the Apple Bug report.

Configure Branch

Install Branch

NuGet

The Branch Xamarin SDK is available as a NuGet package. The Branch NuGet package must be added to each of the Xamarin projects that will use Branch methods.

To add the Branch NuGet package to a project:

  1. Right-click on each project and select Add > Add NuGet Packages
  2. If not already present, find the Microsoft BCL Build Components package version 1.0.21 and add it to the project
  3. Find the Branch Xamarin SDK package version 3.0 and add it to the project

Manually

If, instead of using NuGet, you would rather build and reference the Branch assemblies directly:

  1. Clone this repository to the local machine: https://github.com/BranchMetrics/xamarin-branch-deep-linking.git
  2. Add the Branch-Xamarin-SDK project to the solution and reference it from the Android, iOS and Forms (if applicable) projects
  3. Add the Branch-Xamarin-SDK.Droid project to the solution and reference it from the Android project, if any
  4. Add the Branch-Xamarin-SDK.iOS project and reference it from the iOS project, if any

Configure App

Create an Apple device Provisioning Profile for the app

  1. Open Xcode and create a new project with the same name as your Xamarin iOS project
  2. On the Xcode project's General tab, verify the app's case-sensitive Bundle Identifier is correct and select the appropriate Team (be sure to resolve any errors here)
  3. Select the Capabilities tab and enable the Associated Domains entitlement
  4. Create 'applinks:' entries for the Branch link domain and the alternate link domain (the link domain can be found at the bottom of the Branch dashboard's Link Settings page). For example, the entries for an app with the default link domain 'testiosapp.app.link' would be:
     `applinks:testiosapp.app.link`
     `applinks:testiosapp-alternate.app.link`
    
  5. Use Xcode to run this newly-created app on an iOS device. This will create and install a Provisioning Profile with the proper entitlements on that device.
  6. Close Xcode

Enter the app's settings on the Branch dashboard

  1. On the Link Settings page, check the I have an iOS App checkbox
  2. Enter the app's URI Scheme in the iOS URI Scheme field (for an app with the URI Scheme testbed-xamarin, for example, the entry would be: testbed-xamarin://)
  3. Enter the app's Apple Store name in the Apple Store Search field (if the app is not yet available on the App Store select Custom URL and enter as a placeholder the URL of an appropriate web site - the exact site does not matter)
  4. Check the Enable Universal Links checkbox
  5. Enter the app's case-sensitive Bundle Identifier and Apple App Prefix as shown on the Apple Developer Portal

Configure the Xamarin project's Info.plist file

  1. Open the Info.plist file
  2. Enter the app's Bundle Identifier from the Apple Developer Portal in the Bundle Identifier field. IMPORTANT: this field will automatically be populated with an all-lowercase value by Xamarin. The value is in fact case sensitive and must match the value in the Apple Developer Portal precisely.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab
  4. In the URL Types section, click the Add URL Type button
    Identifier: Branch Scheme
    URL Schemes: {the app's URI Scheme - 'testiosapp', for example} Role: Editor

image

Configure the Xamarin project's Associated Domains entitlement

  1. Open the Entitlements.plist file and browse to Associated Domains
  2. Create entries for both the app's link domain and its alternate link domain. The entries for the TestBed-Xamarin app would be:
     `applinks:testiosapp.app.link`
     `applinks:testiosapp-alternate.app.link`
    

image

Update the project's Signing Identity and Provisioning Profile

  1. Right-click on the iOS project and select Options
  2. Select iOS Bundle Signing
  3. Set the Signing Identity and Provisioning Profile values to the values used when deploying the Provisioning Profile to the device above

Initialize Branch

Branch initialization occurs within the FinishedLaunching method of the AppDelegate.cs file. Branch calls are also required in the OpenUrl, ContinueUserActivity, and ReceiveRemoteNotification methods to ensure that Branch link information is handled properly whenever the app becomes active.

Whenever the app becomes active, the Branch SDK will reach out to the Branch back end to retrieve any available link parameters. If the app became active due to a click on a Branch link, the link data will be returned in the InitSessionComplete method. This is where any deep link routing logic should reside. Any error in retrieving Branch link data from the back end will returned in the SessionRequestError method.

// AppDelegate.cs

using Foundation;
using UIKit;
using BranchXamarinSDK;
using BranchXamarinSDK.iOS;
using System;

namespace TestiOSApp.iOS
{
    [Register("AppDelegate")]
    public class AppDelegate : UIApplicationDelegate, IBranchBUOSessionInterface
    {
        public override UIWindow Window
        {
            get;
            set;
        }

        public override bool FinishedLaunching(UIApplication application, NSDictionary launchOptions)
        {
            // Debug mode - set to 'false' before releasing to production
            BranchIOS.Debug = true;
            BranchIOS.Init("key_live_cgEguO4UiDJSL4HIyTu85dkkDAdz38ER", launchOptions, this);

            return true;
        }

        // Called when the app is opened via URI scheme
        public override bool OpenUrl(UIApplication application, NSUrl url, string sourceApplication, NSObject annotation)
        {
            return BranchIOS.getInstance().OpenUrl(url);
        }

        // Called when the app is opened from a Universal Link
        public override bool ContinueUserActivity(UIApplication application, NSUserActivity userActivity,
                      UIApplicationRestorationHandler completionHandler)
        {
            return BranchIOS.getInstance().ContinueUserActivity(userActivity);
        }

        // Called when the app receives a push notification
        public override void ReceivedRemoteNotification(UIApplication application, NSDictionary userInfo)
        {
            BranchIOS.getInstance().HandlePushNotification(userInfo);
        }

        // Called when the Branch initialization is completed
        // Put deep-linking logic in this method
        public void InitSessionComplete(BranchUniversalObject buo, BranchLinkProperties blp)
        {
            NSObject[] keys = {
                NSObject.FromObject("+is_first_session")
            };

            NSObject[] values = { NSObject.FromObject(0) };
            if (buo.metadata.ContainsKey("+is_first_session"))
            {
                values[0] = NSObject.FromObject(buo.metadata["+is_first_session"]);
            }

            NSDictionary nsData = NSDictionary.FromObjectsAndKeys(values, keys);
        }

        // Called when there is an error initializing Branch
        public void SessionRequestError(BranchError error)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Branch error: " + error.ErrorCode);
            Console.WriteLine(error.ErrorMessage);
        }

    }
}

Configure Branch with Xamarin Forms

Change the C# project's profile to PCL 4.5 - Profile78

  1. Right-click on the project name and select: Options
  2. Browse the menu to Build > General
  3. Change the Current Profile to: PCL 4.5 - Profile78

Add the Branch SDK with NuGet

The Branch Xamarin SDK is available as a NuGet package. The Branch NuGet package must be added to each of the Xamarin projects that will use Branch methods.

  1. Right-click on each project and select Add > Add NuGet Packages
  2. If not already present, find the Microsoft BCL Build Components package version 1.0.21 and add it to the project
  3. Find the Branch Xamarin SDK package version 3.0 and add it to the project

Create a class for Branch session handling

Branch initializes asynchronously, with Branch link parameters being returned following a network call to Branch. If initialization is successful, the InitSessionComplete method will be invoked. If initialization is unsuccessful, the SessionRequestError method will be invoked. Deep link routing logic should be located in the InitSessionComplete method.

  1. Right-click on the C# project and select Add > New File...
  2. Select: General > Empty Class
  3. Rename the file: TestXamarinFormsApp.cs
  4. Enter the following code (replacing 'TestXamarinFormsApp' with the actual name of the app):
using BranchXamarinSDK;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using Xamarin.Forms;

namespace TestXamarinFormsApp
{
    public class TestXamarinFormsApp : Application, IBranchSessionInterface
    {

        public TestXamarinFormsApp()
        {
        }

        #region IBranchSessionInterface implementation

        public void InitSessionComplete(Dictionary<string, object> data)
        {
        }

        public void CloseSessionComplete()
        {
        }

        public void SessionRequestError(BranchError error)
        {
        }

        #endregion
    }
}

Create a class for handling link data

Branch stores link data in an object referred to as the Branch Universal Object, or BUO.

  1. Right-click on the C# project and select Add > New File...
  2. Select: General > Empty Class
  3. Rename the file: TestXamarinFormsAppBUO.cs
  4. Enter the following code (replace 'TestXamarinFormsApp' with the actual name of the app):
using BranchXamarinSDK;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using Xamarin.Forms;

namespace TestXamarinFormsApp
{
    public class TestXamarinFormsAppBUO : Application, IBranchBUOSessionInterface
    {

        public TestXamarinFormsAppBUO()
        {
        }

        #region IBranchBUOSessionInterface implementation

        public void InitSessionComplete(BranchUniversalObject buo, BranchLinkProperties blp)
        {
        }

        public void SessionRequestError(BranchError error)
        {
        }

        #endregion
    }
}

Create an Apple device Provisioning Profile for the app

  1. Open Xcode and create a new project with the same name as your Xamarin iOS project
  2. On the Xcode project's General tab, enter the app's Bundle Identifier and select the appropriate Team (be sure to resolve any errors here)
  3. Select the Capabilities tab and enable the Associated Domains entitlement
  4. Create 'applinks:' entries for the Branch link domain assigned to the app (the link domain can be found at the bottom of the Branch dashboard's Link Settings page). For example, the entries for the app TestXamarinFormsApp would be:
     `applinks:testxamarinformsapp.app.link`
     `applinks:testxamarinformsapp-alternate.app.link`
    
  5. Use Xcode to run this newly-created app on an iOS device. This will create and install a Provisioning Profile with the proper entitlements on that device.
  6. Close Xcode

Enter the app's settings on the Branch dashboard

  1. On the Link Settings page, check the I have an iOS App checkbox
  2. Enter the app's URI Scheme in the iOS URI Scheme field (for an app with the URI Scheme testxamarinformsapp, for example, the entry would be: testxamarinformsapp://)
  3. Enter the app's Apple Store name in the Apple Store Search field (if the app is not yet available on the App Store select Custom URL and enter as a placeholder the URL of an appropriate web site - the exact site does not matter)
  4. Check the Enable Universal Links checkbox
  5. Enter the app's Bundle Identifier and Apple App Prefix as shown on the Apple Developer Portal

Configure the Xamarin project's Info.plist file

  1. Open the Info.plist file
  2. Enter the app's Bundle Identifier from the Apple Developer Portal in the Bundle Identifier field. IMPORTANT: this field will automatically be populated with an all-lowercase value by Xamarin. The value is in fact case sensitive and must match the value in the Apple Developer Portal precisely.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab
  4. In the URL Types section, click the Add URL Type button
    Identifier: Branch Scheme
    URL Schemes: {the app's URI Scheme - 'testxamarinformsapp', for example}
    Role: Editor

image

Configure the Xamarin project's Associated Domains entitlement

  1. Open the Entitlements.plist file and browse to Associated Domains (if this file does not already exist, create it)
  2. Create entries for both the app's link domain and its alternate link domain. The entries for the TestBed-Xamarin app would be:
     `applinks:testxamarinformsapp.app.link`
    `applinks:testxamarinformsapp-alternate.app.link`
    

image

Add Branch calls to the AppDelegate.cs file

To ensure that the Branch SDK initializes when the app starts and can retrieve link parameters whenever the app becomes active, Branch initialization occurs within the FinishedLaunching method of the AppDelegate.cs file. Branch calls are also required in the OpenUrl, ContinueUserActivity, and ReceiveRemoteNotification methods to ensure that Branch link information is handled properly whenever the app becomes active. The AppDelegate.cs file should look like this:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;

using Foundation;
using UIKit;
using BranchXamarinSDK;
using TestXamarinFormsApp;

namespace TestXamarinFormsApp.iOS
{
    [Register("AppDelegate")]
    public partial class AppDelegate : global::Xamarin.Forms.Platform.iOS.FormsApplicationDelegate
    {
        public override bool FinishedLaunching(UIApplication app, NSDictionary options)
        {
            global::Xamarin.Forms.Forms.Init();

            // Debug mode - set to 'false' before releasing to production
            BranchIOS.Debug = true;

            TestXamarinFormsAppBUO appBUO = new TestXamarinFormsAppBUO();
            BranchIOS.Init("key_live_liAnF8k7gZUEZv76Rt9a4bffAzlC5zVW", options, appBUO);
            LoadApplication(appBUO);

            return base.FinishedLaunching(app, options);
        }

        // Called when the app is opened via URI scheme
        public override bool OpenUrl(UIApplication application, NSUrl url, string sourceApplication, NSObject annotation)
        {
            return BranchIOS.getInstance().OpenUrl(url);
        }

        // Called when the app is opened from a Universal Link
        public override bool ContinueUserActivity(UIApplication application, NSUserActivity userActivity, UIApplicationRestorationHandler completionHandler)
        {
            return BranchIOS.getInstance().ContinueUserActivity(userActivity);
        }

        // Called when the app receives a push notification
        public override void ReceivedRemoteNotification(UIApplication application, NSDictionary userInfo)
        {
            BranchIOS.getInstance().HandlePushNotification(userInfo);
        }
    }
}

Implement Features

Create content reference

BranchUniversalObject universalObject = new BranchUniversalObject();
universalObject.canonicalIdentifier = "id12345";
universalObject.title = "id12345 title";
universalObject.contentDescription = "My awesome piece of content!";
universalObject.imageUrl = "https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/branchhost/mosaic_og.png";
universalObject.metadata.Add("foo", "bar");

Create deep link

BranchLinkProperties linkProperties = new BranchLinkProperties();
linkProperties.tags.Add("tag1");
linkProperties.tags.Add("tag2");
linkProperties.feature = "sharing";
linkProperties.channel = "facebook";
linkProperties.controlParams.Add("$desktop_url", "http://example.com");

Branch.GetInstance().GetShortURL(callback,
                                  universalObject,
                                  linkProperties);

Share deep link

  • Will generate a Branch deep link and tag it with the channel the user selects

  • Needs a Create content reference

  • Needs a [Create link reference]/developers-hub/docs/ios-advanced-features#section-create-link-reference)

  • Uses Deep Link Properties

ShareLink (IBranchLinkShareInterface callback,
           BranchUniversalObject universalObject,
           BranchLinkProperties linkProperties,
           string message)

Read deep link

  • Retrieve Branch data from a deep link

  • Best practice to receive data from the listener (to prevent a race condition)

  • Returns deep link properties

// latest
Dictionary<string, object> sessionParams = Branch.GetInstance().GetLatestReferringParams();

// first
Dictionary<string, object> installParams = Branch.GetInstance().GetFirstReferringParams();

Track users

  • Sets the identity of a user (email, ID, UUID, etc) for events, deep links, and referrals

  • Validate with the Branch Dashboard

Branch branch = Branch.GetInstance ();
branch.SetIdentity("the user id", this);  // Where this implements IBranchIdentityInterface
branch.Logout(this); // Where this implements IBranchIdentityInterface

Track events

  • Registers a custom event

  • Events named open, close, install, and referred session are Branch restricted

  • Best to Track users before Track events to associate a custom event to a user

  • Validate with the Branch Dashboard

Branch branch = Branch.GetInstance ();
branch.LogEvent("the_custom_event");

Track commerce

Branch branch = Branch.GetInstance ();
Dictionary<string, object> data = new Dictionary<string, object>();
data.Add("sku", "123456789");
branch.LogEvent("purchase_event", data);

Troubleshoot Issues

Test deep link iOS

  • Create a deep link from the Branch Marketing Dashboard

  • Delete your app from the device

  • Compile your app with Xcode

  • Paste deep link in Apple Notes

  • Long press on the deep link (not 3D Touch)

  • Click Open in "APP_NAME" to open your app (example)

Unable to add Branch-required NuGet packages to the C# project

Adding required NuGet packages to the C# project may fail if the project has not been configured to use PCL 4.5 - Profile78

  1. Right-click on the project name and select: Options
  2. Browse the menu to Build > General
  3. Change the Current Profile to: PCL 4.5 - Profile78

Deploying iOS app to device fails with Provisioning Profile erros after changing entitlements

Xamarin automatically populates the Bundle Identifier field in the Info.plist file with an all-lowercase value derived from the app's name. This value is in fact case sensitive and must match the value in the Apple Developer Portal precisely. The default Xamarin configuration may work when there are no entitlements configured and then suddenly begin failing after entitlements have been added.

This issue can be resolved by ensuring that the Bundle Identifier in the Info.plist matches the Bundle Identifier shown on the Apple Developer Portal.

  1. Open the Info.plist file
  2. Enter the app's Bundle Identifier from the Apple Developer Portal in the Bundle Identifier field

Sample apps

There are four fully-functional demo apps included in this repository: a Xamarin Native and Xamarin Forms apps for both iOS and Android platforms. Use these apps as reference models for integrating the Branch SDK.

  • Testbed-Xamarin (Native apps)

  • Testbed-XamarinForms (Forms apps)

Updated 11 days ago

Xamarin iOS


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