Facebook’s HTML5 mistake?

Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg said (paraphrased):

The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5. While building native apps that were basically just a wrapper for the mobile web standard let it experiment quickly, it made the apps run way too slow. We burnt two years.

Two quick notes:

  1. This seems to be not about HTML5 as a whole, but specifically about Android. And the Android 2.x default browser is just not very good. I wouldn’t want to create a cutting-edge HTML5 app on Android 2.
  2. You can’t use the web to emulate native. You should use the web in a webby way. Which I guess means a simpler interface with less flourishes.

So all in all, this remark doesn’t say as much as you’d think; only that Facebook will switch from web to native on Android because the Android browser does not allow web to emulate native.

But will they also create BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian, bada, and S40 apps? I think not.

BTW: here is the full quote. Facebook to forget about HTML5? Nah.

Oh, and one reason Zuckerberg said this is because investors want to hear this. Investors are a bunch of clueless people who only run after buzzwords, and Facebook’s delicate position on the stock market makes it necessary to placate them.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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