Telegram Instant View


A couple days ago I supported the “Instant View” button for links to, so I decided to share the experience. The button allows you to read articles directly from Telegram without going to the browser. There is no Instant view under Linux, but there is one under Android/iOS/Windows.

According to the founder of the company, a Frenchman named Paul Du Rove, 30 developers are working on Telegram. Apparently, all 30 encountered difficulties when working with these Instant views, so the feature turned out to be ideologically cool, but not completed.

“Eventually we want to provide Instant View pages for every story on the Web and thus devour the entire Internet (evil laugh)” they said.

The feature is cool because has an admin panel where you can describe the layout of your site in a special programming language. Telegram uses templates in this language to convert the site layout into a simplified Instant view layout. From a technical point of view, this is very impressive.

From a product point of view, everything is also beautiful. You make a template language in the product, and outsource the writing of templates to fanatical users. They even held competitions on writing templates for popular platforms like But in the end something went wrong. This was nicely described by popular designer Ilya Birman:

[I want] you to be able to tell Telegram about your website. But the problem is that I don’t know how to tell him. They have a whole page there where the language itself is described in super detail; there is a thing where you can test a template for your website; make sure it works.

But what to do with this next is unknown. There is no “Use this template” button. There is no place where to insert it on your website for Telegram to see it. You can’t understand shit; I read all the documentation three times, didn’t get in and gave up.

If I understand correctly, this happened because Telegram developers moderate user templates once every 5 years. No one on the Internet has been able to add their website through Telegram’s stated process of working with Instant view since 2019.

So people came up with workarounds. They all boil down to the fact that you need to adjust the website layout to what Telegram expects. We need to make him think: “oh, I can parse this out of the box.” You can identify Telegram by User-Agent and give it pages with a layout that it understands. You can feed Telegram layout to everyone, that’s what I did. The template editor from is not useless in debugging this matter; it tells you about typical errors like the <img> tag inside <a>, which Telegram does not support.

It would be nice if the guys from Telegram brought the Instant view feature for hard workers’ sites to fruition. Well, or at least they told us why it couldn’t be completed. It is very interesting. Perhaps the goal “provide Instant View pages for every story on the Web” was too ambitious. The layout of even well-known websites is constantly changing. Perhaps Telegram did not cover “every story on the Web”, but “99% of stories on the Web”. If so, that’s also very cool.