This tip explains a couple of workarounds for problems that I hope AppSheet can address. So, here’s hoping this little essay will eventually be made obsolete. In the meantime, however, I think it has some information you should know about if you are interested in linking to external sites from your apps.
First of all, here’s the basic information on how to put a hyperlink to an external site in your app:
This page has a link to the following sample app, which I will use for this little “not in the manual” tip:
If you copy this and then open it up in your phone, the links should look like this:
If I tap on one, I get this:
Notice the blue text and icons at the very top. This means that the page is still contained within the AppSheet platform. In many cases, this may be preferable but problems can occur. Some websites have functions that won’t work until the user taps on the square icon with the arrow, in the upper righthand part of the screen. In such cases, it’s better to send users directly to the external site. Doing so has the additional advantage of making it possible to move freely between the external site and the app. Here’s how you do that:
Seems simple enough. Just click on the “Launch External” switch in the action, right? Not so fast. The platform will let you turn “Lauch External” on, but when you try to save it, it reverts to “off.” The solution is in the following post by @Heru:
I think this is something that AppSheet should fix. If they could find a way to make a system-generated action editable, this little app-building task would be made much easier. Also, even if you already know about the need to copy system-generated actions (and then do all of the necessary reconfiguring to hide the system-generated one and make sure the new one is included in your slice, etc.), it’s easy to forget. That’s what happened to me today. Even more objectionable is not greying out the switch that won’t work. The current configuration makes it a little time trap for the uninitiated or the forgetful (like me ).
Finally, make your link text short. Here’s how a longer link looked today:
Not only was the text cut off abruptly, but the action icon also disappeared. Even though the actual video title is longer, I shortened it as follows to make it look OK:
It would be nice if link text could be split into more than one line and a little space left for the icon, but for now I think it’s probably better to abbreviate the text ourselves.
By the way, this issue with inline action icon disappearance may be related to the following:
I take it that this is a difficult problem for AppSheet and that’s why it hasn’t been addressed yet. I hope, though, it can be resolved before too much longer.