AddThis has long been committed to standardizing the way in which content is shared across the web. Today we’re excited to announce core product support for another emerging building block in the open sharing ecosystem. It’s called Web Intents.
What the heck is it?
Web Intents is an open specification being developed within the W3C process. It allows web pages to more easily and securely invoke external services on behalf of users. In plain English, this spec is a way for a web browser to help users connect to useful services on the web for performing certain common actions — things like save, share, and print.
For example, a web page can indicate that it contains some content a user might want to save. A user’s browser can detect that, help the user choose a suitable service, and then actually save the content. Same goes for printing, even for the most basic type of sharing — sending a URL to some other service.
How does AddThis work with Web Intents?
We’re announcing 3 things today. All of the bits are either already deployed or will be rolling out over the coming days.
1. AddThis sharing tools can invoke Web Intents.
AddThis social tools are the easiest way to integrate sharing functionality into your site. That’s not just true for deploying Pinterest, Facebook, or over 300 other services and custom interfaces — it’s also true for access to basic Web Intents. When a developer includes AddThis in a page, users immediately get access to any intent handlers that are registered with their browser. No handlers registered? That’s ok too, it won’t hurt anything and you’ll still get AddThis-powered sharing and analytics as usual.
2. AddThis makes Web Intents work, even if the browser doesn’t support them.
By adding AddThis to a page, a site developer can feel free to use Web Intents to initiate sharing actions. AddThis makes sure the handlers are there, and lets users invoke the tools and share content, even without any browser support. Site developers can relax and not worry about figuring out a complex matrix of browser support for their pages.
3. AddThis sharing tools can handle sharing actions.
If a page includes a share intent, AddThis can handle it. End users can share content to any of our 300+ services. AddThis ensures that web intents retains all the flexibility of current sharing tools from day one.
We’re extremely excited to help take another step toward open sharing by supporting and participating in the work on this emerging specification. We’ll be continuing to add support to our products and talking more about implementation details here and in our docs. We’ll also be talking quite a bit more about Web Intents to users, site operators, and the over 300 service providers we’ve integrated with across the globe. We’ll be releasing tools to make Web Intents support easier and more valuable for all of them.
The more progress the web is able to make on the mechanics of sending content from point A to point B, the more AddThis can stay focused on the optimization, analytics, and unique social experiences that you’ve come to expect from us and our tools. Check back on this blog to stay up-to-date on our support and ongoing product enhancements around Web Intents.
To the Open Web,