Nick Bilton writing for The New York Times:
Thankfully that’s all going to change next month. According to two Facebook engineers who asked not be named because they are not authorized to speak about unreleased products, Facebook has completely rebuilt its iOS application to optimize for one thing: speed.
I’ve always thought the Facebook app has been very slow ever since the big upgrade when they switch from the old tiled based navigation screen to the current list based one. It’s good that they realised that the current app is not working very well for them. Bilton continues to say this:
One of the Facebook engineers said the new application has been built primarily using Objective-C, the programming language used to build applications for iOS. Many of the components of the current version of the Facebook app are built using HTML5, the Web-based markup language.
The current version of the app is essentially an Objective-C shell with a Web browser inside. When it comes to speed, this is like putting the engine of a Smart Car in the body of a Ferrari.
Native platform framework will always be faster and better1, but I do believe that some apps are okay to be written in HTML5. For example the LinkedIn app is written in HTML5 and it works okay. It’s a tradeoff on whether you want to “write once, run everywhere”, or “write for one platform but works very well”.
This is probably why Instagram, Flipboard, Instapaper, and many other apps decided to focus on one platform first before expanding. For many, that first platform is preferably iOS. Better ecosystem, better API supports, and better customers.
In this case, it’s Cocoa touch and Objective-C. ↩