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"See the Web sucks" hating at an all-time high thanks to Zuck's comments yesterday. Not so fast, says @dalmaer ...


Stashed in: Mobile!, Web Development, The Web, Awesome, The Oatmeal, Haters!, Firefox!, HTML5!

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Roaming Twitter I notice a lot of jerks on the “see the Web sucks!” bandwagon after Mark Zuckerberg’s interview yesterday.

I like this response from Dion Almaer:

The cross platform strategy may have been wrong, or maybe execution was part of the deal? Having stacks of WebViews was awful. The networking was wack. Many wonder if the implementation was at least part of the problem. I have to think that it was part of the problem.

I paraphrase this to mean:

HTML5 doesn't suck. Facebook's implementation of its app sucked.

It's just that Dion Almaer is much more polite about how he says it than I am.

Great image of the conflict of Web vs NaCL:

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The Oatmeal says HTML5 is lightning fast, like cheetah balls.

The Oatmeal is never wrong.

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Having abused the crap out of my iPad for the past 7 weeks with Cordova (fka: PhoneGap)

I can attest that the hybrid solution is legit yo!

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Glad to hear hybrid is legit. Bonus points for Tone Loc!

Even Zuck acknowledges that HTML5 is good:

"It's not that HTML5 is bad. I'm actually, on long-term, really excited about it. One of the things that's interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined. So mobile web is a big thing for us."

Mozilla's Brendan Eich interprets Zuckspeak for us:

If you read between the lines, what it seemed he was saying is what they tried to do was hybridise native and HTML, and when you do that there's always a seam between the systems.

A friend of mine, Joe Hewitt, used to be at Facebook and did the first hybrid app and did a very good integration. But he left, and the skill required to keep that seamless — and possibly some of the support from Apple to do it — weren't there in the later versions.

I don't think the web ever loses. It's just a matter of pragmatics and spin that you get into with these things.

Companies like Facebook can afford to do a native [app], especially on iOS, but for the long tail, developers will generally do the Web and often be content there.

If the web can be evolved to include the missing APIs and have better performance, [developers] won't need to go beyond the web.

Well said, Brendan. Well said.

Curious mention of Joe Hewitt by Brendan, considering this bomb;

http://joehewitt.com/2011/09/22/web-technologies-need-an-owner

Joe Hewitt quit Facebook so he could work on a Web related project; that post likely stemmed from the frustration of not having anyone responsible for the Web having (fill in the blank).

Hewitt himself quit iOS development BECAUSE a single entity was controlling it, to his dissatisfaction:

http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/11/joe-hewitt-developer-of-facebooks-massively-popular-iphone-app-quits-the-project/

I really feel for Facebook. It seems that not much has changed since 2008 when my team had fallen into the same trap.

Facebook attempted to make the traditional Web tech work in a situation where both Google and Apple stall and control the stakes. Facebook is big, but like us it had zero influence over the matter. When Android OS just came out and Google announced an Android contest, we made a bet trying to give Web all the native power. It felt good. It felt like this was what at least a million people needed. We open sourced the WebView wrapper http://code.google.com/p/bhoost/ and we built a NeoYou movies app on it. See Bhoost video and NeoYou screenshots at http://bhoost.com, preserved unchanged since then.

We had hoped that this was what Google, a Web company, wanted to happen, but WebView bugs which we and others submitted to Google were not even looked at for 2 years. And when they did look, it was someone at Google working against the internal policy, on a personal passion. We learned that we needed to bend the rules of Web tech pretty hard to squeeze out any kind of performance. We used all the tricks that iUI used, we added our own cache manager that pre-fetched assets via XMPP messaging, we separated out most of the native code into a service leaving minimal code on a WebView wrapper as the only way to get any kind of stability and match native apps in some key features, like background operations, surviving reboot, etc., etc., etc., until we finally realized that we would for years be swimming against the stream.

It seems this is the Web-- approach that LinkedIn had taken with their new iPad app (http://engineering.linkedin.com/mobile/linkedin-ipad-nativeweb-messaging-bridge-and-websockets) and may even have worked for them. May be Facebook engineers thought that bending the Web game to such a degree was just not worth it.

We need another player that will change cards on the table, or we will be dragging our sorry Web asses well behind native apps for 10 more years. The only hope I see is Firefox's fast and pretty mobile browser on Android, their https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebAPI effort and a community revolt against Apple blocking all browsers from iPhone. Any other contenders?

Gene, I hear you: Both Google and Apple slowed down the evolution of the mobile Web so they could build huger bases for the platforms.

Firefox is really the only company poised to push for mobile Web, unless a new player emerges.

That player COULD be Facebook or LinkedIn or even Yahoo if they were willing to commit to it.

Mozilla has finally made a real move. I just tested their device WebAPIs in Firefox on Andorid ICS 4.04, Galaxy S2. The battery, vibration, network, accelerometer, camera APIs are already working. But the most exciting thing is that they are planning to get browser to run as a service, hopefully the one that will start on reboot too. I am very excited, and we will start working on incorporating this into our mobile webapp platform. I wonder if we should architect it like MS OnX? Does anyone have good/bad experiences with OnX? Another way to style it is IFTTT. Any suggestions?

I don't have any experience with OnX, but I really like the IFTTT style.

I also applaud this move by Mozilla.

"The Mozilla WebAPI team is pushing the envelope of the web to include --- and in places exceed --- the capabilities of competing stacks."

Bravo!

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