Siddhi Gate
Siddhi Gate's Blog

Siddhi Gate's Blog

Get link preview - Generate a rich link preview of links via our app, API, or our NPM package πŸ”—

Get link preview - Generate a rich link preview of links via our app, API, or our NPM package πŸ”—

Siddhi Gate
Β·Aug 10, 2022Β·

4 min read

Table of contents

Idea πŸ’‘

You must have seen link previews when you are tweeting a link or sending a message with a link on Discord, Slack, WhatsApp, etc. like this πŸ‘‡

linkpreviewexample.gif

Do you want to integrate such link previews in your chat app, social media app, etc. Or Do you just want to test how your link preview will look like when you share it on social media?

Get link preview is an app that will generate these rich previews for any given link. You can view the rich previews of any given link in our app. We provide API and an NPM package, If you want to add the feature of link preview in your app.

Features ✨:

  1. Generate link previews using or app πŸ’»
  2. Use our API to fetch link preview data and integrate it into your app 🌐
  3. Use our NPM package which provides a custom hook to fetch link preview data and integrate it into your React app.

You can view the rich preview of any link using our app!

getlinkpreviewapp.gif

Our app also provides an API endpoint, which you can integrate in your app to fetch link previews.

API endpoint:

https://get-link-preview.herokuapp.com/?url=https://github.com/siddhigate

Request type: GET

Response:

{ 
  "success":true,
  "title":"siddhigate - Overview",
  "description":"Full stack developer. siddhigate has 49 repositories available. Follow their code on GitHub.",
  "image":"https://avatars.githubusercontent.com/u/80971056?v=4?s=400",
  "sitename":"GitHub",
  "ogUrl":"https://github.com/siddhigate",
  "type":"profile",
  "domain":"github.com",
  "favicon":"https://github.githubassets.com/favicons/favicon.svg"}
}

get-link-preview NPM package provides a custom hook to fetch link previews and use the data in your app.

Step 1: Install the package

npm i get-link-preview

Step 2: Use the custom hook

const { getLinkPreviewData, loading, error, data } = useLinkPreview("https://npmjs.com");
  • You can pass the URL in the custom hook as a param

      const { data } = useLinkPreview("https://npmjs.com");
    
  • When the hook is fetching the link preview data, the loading will be true, it will be false once it is done loading

  • If an error occurs, the error variable will include the error
  • The data will contain the link preview data, an example format for the same is:

      { 
        "success":true,
        "title":"siddhigate - Overview",
        "description":"Full stack developer. siddhigate has 49 repositories available. Follow their code on GitHub.",
        "image":"https://avatars.githubusercontent.com/u/80971056?v=4?s=400",
        "sitename":"GitHub",
        "ogUrl":"https://github.com/siddhigate",
        "type":"profile",
        "domain":"github.com",
        "favicon":"https://github.githubassets.com/favicons/favicon.svg"}
      }
    
  • The hook also provides a getLinkPreview function which accepts a URL as a parameter. You can use it to fetch the link preview data for any URL.

Tools and Technologies used βš’:

  1. React for building frontend
  2. Node.js and Express.js for building the backend
  3. Heroku to deploy the backend
  4. Vercel to deploy the frontend

How I built it πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»:

The data present in the head tags, more specifically the meta tags of the website is used in the link preview. To fetch this data, we will first need to fetch the website and extract the appropriate tags. I’ve extracted the following data using cheerio:

DataTag
title<meta property="og:title">
description<meta property="og:description">
image<meta property="og:image">
type<meta property="og:type">
Sitename<meta property="og:site_name">
url<meta property="og:url">
favicon<link rel="icon">
domain

I built an API which will respond with this data for the link provided as query in the request. I built the backend using Node.js and Express.js, and built the frontend using React. After integrating the API in frontend, I built the custom hook and published it as a NPM package.

Challenges I facedπŸ”¨:

  • Relative path image URLs: In some websites, the favicon and og:image URLs were given in relative path. To get the absolute path, I converted the relative path to the absolute path.
  • Missing og:title: In case, the website didn't include the meta og:title tag, I extracted the <title> tag from the given URL.
  • Invalid URL: To handle invalid URLs, I used the URL constructor to check if the given URL is valid or not.
  • Publishing NPM package: As this was my first time publishing an NPM package, I failed many times. But by referring to different resources, I was finally able to publish the package.

That’s all folks πŸ‘‹

If you have any ideas or features you wish to add to this project, feel free to contribute to the project. I hope you’ll find this app useful! Let’s connect:

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