When Mark Zuckerberg said that "the biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native," web tool developer Sencha set out to disprove his claims. To demonstrate the power of HTML5, Sencha created its own version of Facebook, dubbed Fastbook, as a proof of concept. As demonstrated below, using the mobile HTML5 site through Safari or the stock Android browser seems just as fast as the official iOS and Android apps, but the web version performs better in terms of loading new information from within the main Timeline and when switching between different sections. That said, it is important to note that an updated native version of the Facebook app for Android was released after the video was made.
When creating Fastbook, the team wanted to tackle the most data intensive area of the Facebook app: the News Feed. Once discovering the flaws in how data was being transferred and displayed to the end user, Sencha used a number of HTML5 tools to handle the information more efficiently. Once implemented, status updates populated much faster — which can clearly be seen when scrolling quickly down the Timeline — and more items were available without the need to wait for the site to load additional entries. Other benefits include the ability to view all post comments immediately (instead of requesting to view more comments), as well as a quick loading landscape mode.
While Fastbook is impressive, the recent release of the native iOS and Android facebook apps makes it unlikely that Zuckerberg will backpedal on his previous statements. If you'd like to take Fastbook for a spin, it is available for use, although the developers recommend that you use at least iOS 5 or Android 4.1 for the best results.
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