LinkedIn replaces HTML5-powered search with native code on iPad app
SAN FRANCISCO--LinkedIn said it recently replaced the HTML5-powered search function on its iPad app with native code. Joff Redfern, head of mobile products at LinkedIn, said the company recorded a 20 percent increase in searches on its iPad app as a result of the change.
LinkedIn launched its iPad app in April, and at the time boasted that the app was 95 percent HTML5, with the remainder being native code. Redfern said the company subsequently swapped out the HTML5 search function with a search function powered by native code in order to improve the app's search capabilities. Redfern said LinkedIn users rely heavily on the service's search function.
Redfern said in general LinkedIn's smartphone and tablet apps rely on a mix of native code and HTML5 code. He said native code generally runs faster and therefore results in a better user experience. Thus, he said LinkedIn is now using more native code in its apps.
Redfern's comments are reflective of a wider industry move away from HTML5 technology. Although HTML5 works across all smartphones--thus eliminating the need for developers to build different apps for iOS, Android and other platforms--HTML5 apps generally don't run as smoothly as those that are designed for the operating system itself. Thus, complex applications like games are generally written in native code, while simple services like displaying news stories can be offered through HTML5.
Perhaps the most notable event in the HTML5 industry recently was Facebook's August announcement that it would scrap its HTML5 app and replace it with a native app. Facebook said it made the switch in order to improve the performance of its mobile services; the company said the move doubled the speed of its app.
Interestingly, Redfern also offered additional insight into LinkedIn's approach to mobile from an organizational perspective. He said the company's mobile traffic has risen from 13 percent in 2011 to 25 percent in the third quarter of this year.
As a result, the company has had to reorganize the way it designs and builds mobile services. LinkedIn's mobile offerings were designed and rolled out by a mobile-specific team inside the company. Now, however, LinkedIn's mobile development is still primarily overseen by a mobile team but work is also distributed across other parts of the company.
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