The Promise and State of the Mobile Web

Today, many developers are using the web to build their mobile apps. By using open web technologies, you have the opportunity to build once and deploy across nearly every device. In theory, this allows you to focus on building a great product once which will run across many devices.

Facebook has worked closely with hundreds of developers building web-based mobile apps. We've also built m.facebook.com, and even have web views in our native apps to render features like News Feed and Timeline. Over the past couple of years, we've built up a lot of knowledge about mobile HTML5—including the realization that "build once, deploy everywhere" has significant caveats.

Broadly, these boil down to two major issues; performance and feature set. Poor canvas performance, for example, is inhibiting game developers from building on the mobile web. And limited feature sets prevent app developers from competing with native applications. Not being able, for example, to use camera functionality in an HTML5 app can result in a sub-optimal user experience—or sometimes no appropriate experience at all.

Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and on our main blog, we are excited to announce an industry-wide initiative to address these issues.

Introducing the W3C Community Group

We're proud to be joining over 30 device manufacturers, carriers, and developers in an industry-wide effort to help accelerate the improvement and standardization of mobile browsers: the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group. For developers, this will make it easier to understand an app's potential reach and to help prioritize which browser capabilities are important.

The group will help foster a conversation across the industry, including app developers, browser vendors, OEMs, chipset manufacturers, and carriers. In particular, the companies pledging support today are Samsung, HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication, AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp., Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc., NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson, Intel Corporation, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix, VEVO, Zynga, @WalmartLabs, Electronic Arts, Sencha and Bocoup.

This Community Group will help drive feature prioritization on the mobile web, which will garner support for specifications in the W3C, help push forward deliverables like a test suite, and help browser vendors prioritize functionality.

We believe that if there's a consistent methodology and approach to the problem, it will not only help mobile browsers get better faster, but it will also reduce fragmentation.

You can learn more and participate in the Community Group on the W3C website.

Now let's go make the mobile web better!