HTML5 hits back at Facebook thanks to Sencha

All talk and no action. With religious arguments such as “native vs. web” come about there is often way too much talk compared to little action.

I discussed the flawed view back at the time, and one of the things that frustrated Web developers was the flawed argument:

Facebook’s native app is better, therefore native is better

Facebook’s web app was awful. Millions of WebViews. Crappy backends that always return bad information (e.g. the number of notifications is always out of date). The architecture was poor.

When Zuck gets on stage and says that HTML5 was a mistake, people listen though, and it isn’t enough to come out and speak back.

This is why I am so excited that Sencha hasn’t come back via talk, but by action. Please checkout “The making of Fastbook: An HTML5 love story”, which will go through technical details on how they managed to pull off a great demonstrating of rewriting the Facebook app on their Sencha Touch Web framework. Go and save the Web app to your home screen and run it now, and I think you will be impressed.

Are all of the details there? No. They put this together in short order. You can nit pick on items such as not implementing features such as “throw the photo to go back to the news feed”. However, I showed this to someone over the weekend and they had no idea that it wasn’t the main Facebook app.

Is it as fast? It doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t all flip to the “we should use HTML5 for everything!” side of the fence on the back of this, but it should add the nuance that is deserved.

You should be asking about your own application. Do you need the power of native? Do you only need that power in certain places? Do you value being able to update the experience at any time (and being able to easily A/B test and [insert all of the Web advantages])?

This isn’t a game of Web vs. native. It is about using the best of both worlds and making the right trade offs for your users and experiences.

I have to admit that the Web side has been a lil lacking in great examples of what it can do in mobile apps. Sencha has added to the mix here, and a more interesting conversation can happen. Time for more of us to “shut up and code” and share great experiences and how we built them.

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