Facebook gets mobile facelift

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

Facebook is the perfect pastime to engage in while waiting for the bus or standing in a long line. The problem?

The social networking site doesn’t always work properly when viewed across different mobile phones.

To fix this issue, Facebook has announced major upgrades to its mobile site, m.facebook.com.

The official Facebook blog explained that in the past, they tried to create a mobile experience for specific phones.

For example, the site had m.facebook.com for less feature-rich mobile devices and touch.facebook.com for touch devices.

That also meant every time Facebook rolled out a new feature, it would have to update the code for facebook.com, m.facebook.com, touch.facebook.com, and within native applications as well, a time consuming and inefficient undertaking.

The blog explains that this approached limited the Facebook experience based on the capabilities of the poorest performing phone within each realm.

That means Facebook couldn’t use JavaScript because it wouldn’t work on certain feature phones. Similarly, the site was forced to employ limited CSS on the touch site.

With the new approach, the blog states, "The new m.facebook.com [allows] users with high-end touch devices [to] see a rich touch-friendly interface; for users with feature phones, the site will look and work great."

In addition, new features will roll out on mobile phones more quickly, without any difference between m.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com.

The upgraded site is now powered by a UI framework based on XHP, Javelin, and WURFL, a detailed database mapping user agents to device capabilities.