Just last week our very own Jay Roth mentioned that commented on Facebook’s floundering iPhone app. Just as promised, Facebook has released an totally rewritten version of the app, which is considerably faster than its predecessor. This speed increase is brought about by the company’s decision to switch from HTML5-based applications to programing languages tailored to a certain platform. In the case of iOS, Facebook had to rewrite the app in Objective-C.
I just downloaded the app, and for what it’s worth, I can confirm that it feels buttery smooth compared to the previous version, which routinely stuttered along. Also, this update seems to address some of the concerns Jay had outlined. For instance, notification badges seems to appear and disappear correctly based on whether the message was read or not.
To me, this decision by Facebook exemplifies why the “native app + web services backend” approach works better than the “web technologies everywhere” line of thinking. Native apps provide a better experience for the user- at least until web technologies can catch up to this level of performance.
At any rate, the new version of the Facebook app is available on App Store right now.