Linky review: Supercharge your iOS 8 sharing extension
By J.R. Bookwalter
At a glance
App extensions and sharing options are but two of the most convenient additions to iOS 8, further closing the feature gap with Android. Instead of relying upon awkward hacks and workarounds, third-party developers can now extend the reach of their apps like never before, without compromising device security in the process.
Facebook and Twitter may have been among the first to gain extension support, but the folks at Pragmatic Code think they’ve come up with an even better way to share using links, text, and now images as well.
I have a picture
Linky (App Store link) simplifies the process of sharing links from Safari or other apps with extension support. While previous versions did a fine job of sharing text only, version 5.0 introduces the ability to include a single picture or animated GIF file from the device photo library, or any image copied to the clipboard.
By default, Linky automatically inserts the suggested image from the website being shared, an option that can be toggled off in settings. The app also displays a horizontal grid of recent photos with generously sized thumbnails as an added convenience. Once attached, users can tap the image to see a full-screen preview prior to sending, or remove it in favor of another.
Equally useful is the way Linky handles text you’ve selected in Safari prior to sharing, which is converted on the fly into a text shot and added to the composition window. This option is great for highlighting a specific chunk of text or circumventing Twitter’s often confining limit of 140 characters per tweet, although there are no formatting options to be found here.
Other than this limitation, the only real improvement I’d like to see is the ability to share more than one photo at a time. In the meantime, the universal app looks great on the latest iPhone 6 and Retina Display devices, with support for portrait or landscape orientations.
It’s the little things
Linky 5.0 isn’t only about images: The update also taps into Twitter Cards, making it easier to add a mention. As soon as you type the leading “@” symbol, the share extension displays a row of suggested accounts across the bottom of the toolbar, with that particular website’s Twitter account listed first in purple.
Color is also used to great effect on links and hashtags, which comes in handy when you’ve exceeded the tweet character limit, for example. Linky shows a count of how far you’re over, but also colors that text in red as a visual reference. There are even handy shortcuts in the composition window for selecting the title, link, or text clip so you can cut or delete them with a tap. DuckDuckGo and Google search engines are bundled into Linky, although it’s best used as an extension within other apps.
Linky works with Twitter, Facebook, and App.net, and as someone who frequently updates several Facebook Pages, having the convenience of being able to write once and post everywhere is quite liberating indeed—simply tap the account header, select where you want to post, and hit Send. Several popular link shortening services like bit.ly and Google are also included, but require an account to use.
Thanks to the single sign-in feature integrated into iOS, adding Twitter and Facebook accounts is equally painless; the less-popular App.net still requires a username and password, however. I initially had a vague “credentials do not allow access to this resource” error when attempting to send tweets from my iPhone (but not my iPad), which was quickly resolved by reentering my Twitter passwords in iOS 8.4.
Packed with convenience, Linky makes sharing to social networks from an iOS device more awesome by reducing the number of steps required in the process.
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