It was about six months ago when Facebook introduced an updated version of its app for iPhones and iPads promising faster speeds and a more enjoyable experience. Here’s the first sentence in a press release from Big Face yesterday: “Today we're announcing an update to the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad that makes keeping up with friends faster and easier.” So what gives? Well, according to Facebook, it was busy ramping up its mobile site across all platforms (it’s not an ALL-iPhone world, you know), and in doing so, it wrote code for the site in HTML5. The app looks pretty much like it did before yesterday’s update, but there’s a brand new engine under the hood. Engineers at Facebook rewrote the entire app in Objective-C, which is Apple’s code of choice.
The move, says Facebook's Jonathan Dann, "signals a shift in how Facebook is building mobile products, with a focus on digging deep into individual platforms". The blog post hints that versions written specifically for Android and other mobile platforms are on the way.
Previously, Facebook’s strategy had been to invent cool, new things for the site, then figure out how to roll them out on mobile platforms later. But there’s huge pressure for the company to make money on the mobile playing field, so to that end, the company has begun chanting a “mobile first” mantra.
Developing mobile products has been made a priority, they said in recent interviews, and every team inside the company has been reorganized with the goal of inserting mobile into its DNA.