Archive for September 2012

Facebook and HTML5

Lots of reaction this week to Zuckerberg’s statement during TechCrunch Disrupt that investing in HTML5 was “one of the biggest mistakes if not the biggest strategic mistake that we made.”

facebook used HTML5 technology in a really smart way in their iOS app by essentially iFrame’ing a version of the their mobile website inside an iOS app shell using something called a UIWebView.

This allowed them to fix bugs, push updates, or even make major UI changes without needing to push out a new version of the app through the App Store. Everything happened on the server side and was available in the app right away.

Dirk de Kok has a fantastic writeup about how this was actually implemented.  Problem was it was horribly slow… Dirk explains why that particular architecture choice caused caused the facebook iOS app to perform so badly.

Facebook recently released an all new native iOS application, and guess what? It’s faster. Why? Because it’s a fully native app written in Objective-C.

The promise of HTML5 is very much like what we heard years ago with Java: write once, run everywhere.  Unfortunately, it can also be: write once, suck everywhere.

I completely understand why you would want to abstract out core pieces of an application and reuse it across platforms.  It doesn’t seem like that’s gonna cut it if you want to build a best-in-class application for each platform.  If you want the best performance, you’re gonna have to go native on the platforms that matter most to you.

There’s nothing wrong with HTML5, facebook was just holding it wrong!


Summer 2012

It’s been a fantastic summer in LA! In Chicago today is the last day where the beaches and public pools are officially open, but there’s no sign of summer ending in LA anytime soon!

Got a great ocean swim in today at Tower 26 in Santa Monica. June gloom is long gone and the weather was amazing. Towards the mid-point of our swim, we spotted a small pod of dolphins. They got closer to us and were playing around not even 10 feet from us; you could even hear them chattering underwater!

Tower 26 - Santa Monica beach

Tower 26 in Santa Monica


Earlier this summer, Kevin Marshall (colleague at Clarity) and I also swam the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim.

What an epic swim!!

800 swimmers pile into two ferries and sail to Alcatraz. Everybody dives into the water and swims towards a start line of kayakers. The ferry horn sounds and you swim like mad.

Super challenging swim because of the currents; you can’t just swim a straight line to the finish – you’ll get swept out and get brought back in on the back of a jetski.

Swam it in a respectable 34 minutes, but wussed out and wore my wetsuit. San Francisco is cold in June, and it psyched me out!

Alcatraz Sharkfest swim

Alcatraz Sharkfest swim