Facebook Defriends HTML5

For quite some time users have moaned and groaned about Facebook’s iOS app, and its poor speed and performance. While Facebook has put the bulk of their focus on desktop and web apps, the new native iOS update shows a switch in priorities.

Facebook 5.0 was released to users yesterday, and aims to be faster and easier to use. While Facebook has been a major backer of HTML5 web technology – Thomas Claburn in InformationWeek says the company has made some major modifications (to Objective-C, in fact!):

“Facebook remains under pressure to prove that its social network will thrive as much on mobile devices as it has on desktop computers. Lack of a coherent mobile strategy has contributed to the company’s stock woes and to its decision to acquire mobile photo sharing service Instagram. An enthusiastic reception for Facebook 5.0 for iOS could help the company regain its stride.

Johnson says that Facebook engineers ‘rebuilt the app from the ground up’ to make it launch and load content faster. Much of the app is now written in native iOS code, Objective-C, primarily for the sake of speed.

This is being seen as a rejection of HTML5, a Web technology that was hyped too soon and has since seen early adopters moderate their initial enthusiasm. Facebook itself has been one of the more vocal boosters of HTML5.”

The update certainly helped. When I downloaded Facebook 5.0 myself, I found the app to be much easier to use. Scrolling speeds improved, and notifications seemed to load much faster.

While the majority of users are pleased with the app’s improved speeds, some feel the UI is still lacking intuitiveness. The major takeaway here is that having a quality native app is tremendously important. With native as a new company focus, and hopefully some usability testing on the horizon, Facebook’s application can only improve.

What do you think of Facebook 5.0? Let us know in the comments section.


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