During his first public interview following Facebook’s IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said their biggest mistake was making big bets on HTML5 for their mobile apps. The social media website was one of the first major companies to embrace the HTML5. They didn’t only use it for the site’s mobile Web experience; it was also their basis for iOS and Android apps.
What Makes HTML5 a Big Mistake?
Creating mobile Web apps was based on the idea that HTML5 would make it easy to develop a single application for multiple platforms and screen sizes. Facebook also thought that the overall experience would be similar to a native app, and it didn’t account for stability or speed.
The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native … It just wasn’t ready.
For the last two years, the social networking giant was focused on HTML5. When asked about their lack of official app for iPad in 2010, the CEO replied that “the iPad isn’t mobile.” That was before they found out that HTML5 can be a better solution for delivering Facebook experience to tablets.
In fact, CTO Bret Taylor said that the mark-up language played a critical role in creating consistent user experience across the social network’s mobile sites and applications. However, it still can’t outweigh the downsides of HTML5. This includes being less stable and pulling in data slower than native apps. Perhaps this is the reason why Facebook completely overhauled its iOS app last August.
Last month, Facebook rolled out a massive update for its iOS app, saying that it is “rebuilt so it’s faster and easier to use.” Its iOS application has faced criticism for the past 18 months because it is slow and unresponsive. It was said that the culprit behind its drawback is its reliance to HTML5.
Facebook on Mobile Web
Zuckerberg stated that they are now focused on continuously improving the native mobile experience for iOS users, while an Android app is coming soon. Since the social network giant had spend so much time building its system to efficiently process mobile apps data, it lost precious time that it could have spent in focusing and developing bigger and greater applications.
But this doesn’t mean that Facebook will no longer work with HTML5, especially when it comes to its mobile website for non-iOS and non-Android devices. It’s just that it won’t buy the “write once, run everywhere” bandwagon anymore.