Shut up and code

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg infamously stated that using HTML5 in their mobile app was a mistake. While most developers in the mobile space understood Facebook’s problems with HTML5 to be one of poor implementation rather than a lacking in the technology, it set back the HTML5 movement across the wider IT community. How would CIO’s react when Zuck says HTML5 sucks? (He didn’t really say that – but that’s what a lot of people heard)

The last few years has seen lots of vigorous debate on web vs native (including internally at Xero). Unfortunately the debate tends to be just talk and for many on the HTML5 side they think the problem is that HTML5 doesn’t have a marketing department. Thankfully it doesn’t need one if developers start to showcase what’s possible rather than just talk about it. Which is why it’s fantastic to see Sencha (the company that builds the HTML5 development frameworks we use to help build out the Xero product suite) has built a demo app call Fastbook that replicates some of the more advanced features of Facebook’s re-imagined native app in pure HTML5 (built upon Sencha Touch).

The video below shows a side by side of the official native Facebook app versus Sencha’s HTML5 Fastbook app:

What’s great is that they’ve not only replicated some of the more advanced features of the native experience, but they’ve also added in some additional capabilities that the native app doesn’t even have. It’s especially impressive to see the Android version – the native app looks clumsy next to the HTML5 app – I’m sure that’s not supposed to happen :)

For those developers wondering how they did it, Sencha have done a fantastic dissection of the process they went through on their blog:

There are lots of reasons to choose HTML5 technologies (which we’ve covered before). Xero Touch is a great example of what can be achieved and apps like Fastbook take it to another level. And to that end Sencha finishes their app breakdown with a challenge – to shut up and code. It’s about time.


December 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

What about posting photos and using native features like the camera?

Jerry Zhao
December 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

if WFM can get to here will be great!

Can’t wait for the new WFM!

Craig Walker Xero
December 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

@Matt Good question. It’s definitely possible for them to have done that – both Android (3+) and iOS 6 have support for new HTML5 input types for media access (as well as file upload). They could have also wrapped this version using Sencha Packager which has access to the native API’s for camera access. I’m not sure they have a roadmap for this app (it’s a demo to be fair) but it’s a good showcase of what can be done so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s additional features added over time.

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