Native vs web debate rumbles on

“HTML5 is ready” say creators of mobile HTML5 Facebook clone

Elliot Bentley

To prove Zuckerberg wrong, two Sencha developers have developed an HTML5 web interface called Fastbook.

It was in September that Mark Zuckerberg infamously stated that the company “burned two years” by betting too heavily on HTML5. This came soon after the company was forced to replace their hybrid iOS app with a far speedier native one after a deluge of complaints. Since then, some have hit back at Facebook, insisting that the social network’s app was simply implementing the technology wrong. To prove the point, two developers at Sencha have developed their own HTML5-based Facebook web app which matches and in some cases exceeds the current native apps.


Jamie Avins and Jacky Nguyen’s ‘Fastbook’, which is available as a live demo, is meant purely as a technical showcase, implementing just the newsfeed and the user’s homepage using several aspects of the Sencha Touch framework. Tested on an iPhone 4, we found it faster at loading but not quite as responsive as the current native app. Under the hood, Fastbook’s tricks include utilising Sencha Touch features such as a “Sandbox Container” to detach complex DOM elements and place them in their own iframes, “TaskQueue”, which compiles DOM read or write operations for speed, and “AnimationQueue” which does what it says on the tin. The pair even went as far as utilising a proxy to filter data obtained via the API, compressing it to 10% of its existing size. Below the accompanying blogpost, some commenters called Fastbook out for being misleading since it is able to utilise the ‘Nitro’ JavaScript engine unavailable to hybrid apps like Facebook. However, Avins responded in the comments that “GPU compositing is MUCH more important than the JS for this type of application”. As well as a good PR stunt for Sencha, the app is designed to generate publicity for Sencha’s ‘HTML5 is Ready’ competition, which challenges developers to “build an awesome HTML5 app using Sencha frameworks”.
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4 years ago

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my Skype ID: gabriel-twi