Facebook Is Ditching HTML5, Its "Biggest Mistake," for Native Code, Android App Next

Zuckerberg is going native, HTML5 for mobile apps was a big mistake

By on September 12th, 2012 07:59 GMT

For a long time, Facebook has been a big proponent of HTML5. For good reason too, HTML5 and web technologies in general are standard, well known by a lot of people, work on a lot of platforms and always get better.

But Facebook is realizing that HTML5 is not the be all, end all, so much so that founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that betting the farm on HTML5 was a mistake, one that Facebook is now rectifying.

What Zuckerberg is referring to is specifically for the mobile web, particularly Facebook's decision to use HTML5 as the basis of its mobile apps rather than use native code.

"The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years," he said in an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt.

But that's changing, the iOS app is already using native code, Objective C, and it shows, it's significantly faster than before.

An Android app written in native code, Java in this case, is already in the works. Don't hold your breath for an Android app launching any time now, it will be "ready when it's ready."

As for the other platforms, Zuckerberg didn't say, but you can expect that HTML5 will still be used for a while now. If there's interest enough, Facebook may do a native Windows Phone app, but we'll have to see how the latest Windows Phone 8 fares.

Chances are, you're not going to see a native Windows Phone app land any time soon as for other platforms, well, don't get your hopes too high, it's not going to happen.

There's still a place for HTML5 at the company. For one, its sites will rely on it, both the desktop and especially the mobile ones. And, as we mentioned, HTML5 will continue to be the core of its non-iOS, non-Android mobile apps, at least for the foreseeable future.

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