Got a tip for us? Share it...

Facebook Abandoning HTML5 to Speed Up iOS App

facebookicon.pngFacebook engineers are completely rewriting the social network iOS app to make it faster. The app, which has been criticized by many users for being extremely slow, was built using the HTML5 Web-based programming language.

It makes the app much easier for Facebook's engineers to port to other platforms like Android or Windows Mobile -- but it fails to take advantage of the iOS operating system.

As a result, the app -- which is used for everything from posting status updates to checking in to restaurants -- is much slower than comparable apps written to be a native app from the bottom up. Facebook knows this and is giving the app a complete rewrite in Objective-C, turning it into a true iPhone app and making it much faster. Nick Bilton, reporting for The New York Times:
I had the opportunity to see the yet-unreleased iPhone application and its fast. Blazing fast. The two developers I spoke with said the new application is currently being tested by Facebook developers and is expected to be updated this summer.

Don’t get too excited, though. The new Facebook app looks exactly like the old one. Facebook hasn’t changed the design, but rather focused on speed.
According to Bilton, the new and improved Facebook app should be released next month.

Facebook for iOS is available free from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

Posted: 27 months ago
About damn time.
Rating: 34 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
Rating: 23 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
I'll believe it when I see it
Rating: 23 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
Damn... with so many iPhone users that complain about the FB app, this should have been Front Page news!
Rating: 18 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
I will never understand how Facebook takes so long to do a bad job only to take even longer to fix programming issues. Good grief.
Rating: 17 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
Just an aside, the Facebook app on Android is painfully slow as well. HTML5 may ensure compatibility with all platforms, but it doesn't seem to excel on any.
Rating: 13 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
I'm all for a faster app, but the current HTML5 one was wayyyyyyyyyy faster for me a few months ago than it has been recently, so it seems like something else has been going on with them. Even from a desktop browser, Facebook has been slower/glitchier lately than before.
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago

Welcome to the 21st century, facebook.

Yes, leaving behind that Bronze-Age technology, HTML5.

Sarcasm aside, this is very, very welcome news.
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
I really hate apps that are basically just a container for a web page just to make cross-platform porting easy.

If I were an app developer, I'd sacrifice easy portability for my app running smooth on every platform. If that means hiring someone else to do the Android version, so be it.

It should be built for the platform, with the platform's native language, not as a mobile website.

And I really hope they add the "Share" button. It's been missing since v1.
Rating: 11 Votes
Posted: 27 months ago
On another note, why hasn't Facebook updated the iPad app to support Timeline yet? It's been about 6 months now!
Rating: 8 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]