Platform guides - URL dispatcher guide

The URL Dispatcher is a small service which can allow confined applications to launch other applications that are identified with a particular URL.

Perhaps the most common case would be sending an http://<URL> to the Web browser, but other applications like Music or just starting an application that is in a different sandbox is also supported. For most applications this is a useful way to get out of their application to another piece of content or user request.

For QML applications access to the URL Dispatcher is provided through the Qt desktop plugin, via the openUrlExternally method. C++ applications can use the openURL method. Both are valid and the backend is transparent. For other applications they can use the Platform API or liburl-dispatcher directly depending on their needs.

Supported URLs


There are a few URLs that are supported internally in the URL dispatcher.

  • application:///$(app_id).desktop - The application URL can be used to start an application with a known Application ID. For applications that install their desktop file in /usr/share/applications the application ID should just be the name of the desktop file.
  • appid://$(pkg)/$(app)/$(version) - Allows for launching an application using an application ID. Also provides for wild cards. The $(app) can be first-listed, last-listed-app or only-listed-app to select the appropriate application using the click manifest. Also the $(version) can be current-user-version to select the version in the manifest

Application URLs

Applications can register to be opened when a URL is activated by adding a URL definition to their Click manifest. For this a small JSON file needs to be added along side the desktop file in the "hooks" section of the file. A simple manifest could look like this:

    "name": "My App",
    "version": "1.2.3",
    "hooks": {
        "foo": {
            "desktop": "foo.desktop",
            "urls": "foo.url-dispatcher"

Which would then point to another JSON file in your click package that defines which URLs you are expecting to receive. A simple version of that file could look like:

        "protocol": "foo",
        "domain-suffix": ""

This would mean that the application in "foo.desktop" would be launched anyone someone requested a URL with the pattern "foo://*". The domain-suffix field can be left out if you'd like to receive all requests for a given protocol. The URL dispatcher definition is an array, so as many protocol/suffixes that you wish to receive for that application may be added.