I am working on a mobile friendly website and liked the idea of having my URLs open in native apps; like say to Google Maps or Facebook using custom URI protocols eg fb:// or comgooglemaps://. Unfortunately on a desktop the browser (Chrome for example) doesn't know what fb:// means so those links do absolutely nothing. I need to add some sort of fall back like:

<a href="fb://profile?id=1234" fallback="http://facebook.com"> click here </a> 

Unfortunately spending all day on Google has turned up not a single solution. Currently the only work-a-round I can come up with is to make 2 sets of links and display or hide a given link based on media queries. This sounds like a sloppy solution, hopefully someone else here has a better idea.


1 Answer 1


I think I've got a working solution. (see https://stackoverflow.com/a/13675901/984234)

 <!-- links will work as expected where javascript is disabled-->
 <a class="intent"   

And my javascript works like this.
note: there's a little jQuery mixed in there, but you don't need to use it if you don't want to.

(function () {

    // tries to execute the uri:scheme
    function goToUri(uri, href) {
        var start, end, elapsed;

        // start a timer
        start = new Date().getTime();

        // attempt to redirect to the uri:scheme
        // the lovely thing about javascript is that it's single threadded.
        // if this WORKS, it'll stutter for a split second, causing the timer to be off
        document.location = uri;

        // end timer
        end = new Date().getTime();

        elapsed = (end - start);

        // if there's no elapsed time, then the scheme didn't fire, and we head to the url.
        if (elapsed < 1) {
            document.location = href;

    $('a.intent').on('click', function (event) {
        goToUri($(this).data('scheme'), $(this).attr('href'));

I also threw this up as a gist that you can fork and mess with. You can also include the gist in a jsfiddle if you so choose.

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