In the face of complaints about sluggishness, Facebook today released a completely rewritten version of their iOS app that promises to be a whole lost faster. The updated app does away with HTML 5 and is built using Objective C, making it much more like a native iOS app.
You’ll be hard pressed to notice any significant aesthetic differences in the new app from the older version, but with Facebook promising a user experience that’s much much faster, and upwards of twice as fast at carrying out certain tasks.
Some of the noted features include:
* Scrolling through news feed is faster than ever
* New banner lets you tap to quickly see more stories – no need to refresh
* Photos open fast and close with one downward swipe
* Instant access to your notifications
In a blogpost detailing the technical changes made to the app, Facebook’s Jonathan Dann writes:
One of the biggest advantages we’ve gained from building on native iOS has been the ability to make the app fast. Now, when you scroll through your news feed on the new Facebook for iOS, you’ll notice that it feels much faster than before. One way we have achieved this is by re-balancing where we perform certain tasks. For example, in iOS, the main thread drives the UI and handles touch events, so the more work we do on the main thread, the slower the app feels. Instead, we take care to perform computationally expensive tasks in the background. This means all our networking activity, JSON parsing, NSManagedObject creation, and saving to disk never touches the main thread.
Also worth mentioning is that when a user attempts to access their newsfeed, they’ll be able to view a previously cached instance of their newsfeed instead of staring at a spinner and waiting for the entire newsfeed to re-load with fresh content.