How to build cross-origin communication bridges in iOS and Andriod
I was working on a certain project at work, in which I needed to connect several varying components via messages. Each had its own logic and code language. This made me want to understand all the ways different platforms enable communication.
This article’s aim is to explain these cross-origin communication bridges and present simple, yet informative, examples to achieve them.
There will also be plenty of bridge puns 🌉
YOU WERE WARNED.
If you just want to get your hands dirty with the code, there are links to the GitHub repositories at the bottom of this article.
Since iOS can be the more exasperating of the platforms, I’ll describe the communication bridge there first.
London Bridge is Falling Down (iOS)
From iOS 8 onwards, Apple recommends using WKWebView instead of UIWebView, so the following will only address the bridge on a WKWebView.
For a UIWebView reference, please go here.
- Create an instance of WKWebViewConfiguration
- Create an instance of WKUserContentController
- Add a script message handler to your configuration (this part bridges the gap). This action also registers your message handler on the window object under the following path: window.webkit.messageHandlers.MSG_HANDLER_NAME
- Make the class implement the message handler protocol by adding <WKScriptMessageHandler> at the top of the file
Let’s say we have the following HTML page set up:
And in our native code we implement the steps described above:
Crossing The Bridge (Android)
Things are much simpler and more friendly here. In order to set up our communication bridge, there are only a few steps:
- Create an instance of a WebView object
Like before, let’s assume we have created this HTML file:
And we have created the following simple Android Application:
And there you go!
You can now consider yourself a Native Communication Ninja!
Here are the links to the repositories:
MediumArticles - A repository that contains code associated with various Medium articles I have writtengithub.comTomerPacific/MediumArticles
MediumArticles - A repository that contains code associated with various Medium articles I have writtengithub.com
⚠️ Important Note Regarding iOS ⚠️
When you get to the point that you want to destroy your WKWebView, it is imperative that you remove your script message handler. If you do not do so, the script message handler will still hold a reference to your WKWebView and memory leaks will ensue upon creating new WKWebViews.
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