Facebook's HTML5 apps platform has been delayed (rumor)

Facebook's HTML5 apps platform has been delayed (rumor)

Summary: Project Spartan, Facebook's rumored HTML5 platform, will not be announced at the company's f8 developer conference this week, according to a new rumor.


Project Spartan is rumored to be Facebook's upcoming HTML5 platform. Speculation suggests the social networking giant will use it to challenge Apple, Google, or both in the mobile app space.

Project Spartan was expected to be announced in July, but we're in September now and it still hasn't seen the light of day. Some expected it to arrive this week at Facebook's f8 developer conference, but now Facebook is apparently worried that the project will overshadow some of the company's other big announcements. As a result, the HTML5 platform won't be announced at f8, according to TechCrunch.

The only tangible part of this rumor is BoltJS, a user interface framework designed to help developers build mobile web apps, in HTML5 and JavaScript that run entirely in the browser, with no backend processing required. BoltJS is built on top of Javelin so that it does not duplicate code already present in the Facebook codebase and so that it is familiar for third-party Facebook developers.

The modules are defined using the CommonJS standard, ensuring each module is completely self-contained, with no global variables being created. There's nothing linking the two projects right now, apart from the fact that it looks like BoltJS could be used to develop Project Spartan apps.

While the HTML5 apps originally only had to work on mobile Safari, meaning just iOS (the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch) was targeted, both Android and desktop browsers are also a requirement now. Facebook is supposedly giving third-party developers a couple more weeks to tweak their apps. Furthermore, a separate event will give them more time to present.

These developers have been working for at least a couple of months with Facebook, and the social network put in a lot of time before that. Employed by companies such as Zynga and the Huffington Post, they are building apps for the platform that range from games to news-reading apps.

The broader goal is to get people using Facebook as the distribution model for apps, rather than Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market. The social networking giant wants this HTML5 app platform to succeed so the mobile world is not fully controlled by the two technology giants. Facebook would of course also love for its own payment platform to dominate mobile by allowing developers to sell apps and offer in-app purchases with Facebook Credits.

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Topics: Software Development, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • With Google 2nd-guessing Javascript's future

    ... I wonder how much longer this HTML5 hype can last.
  • Not so sure I buy this thinking.

    I don't know if FB will announce Spartan or not, but the supposition of why they won't doesn't follow. If your new, break-through app environment is ready, it wouldn't make <b>any</b> sense <i>not</i> to announce it at your developers conference, regardless of how big it is. If it overshadows some of your other projects, announce <i>those</i> at other smaller events, but you don't have a very large number of your developers in one place and then <b>not</b> announce a new app distribution platform, unless of course it's really not ready for primetime.
  • RE: Facebook's HTML5 apps platform has been delayed (rumor)

    Hi.cool stuff.I like to build apps on my own.At first it was quite difficult to find low cost and effective web service for this aim as Im not a pro web developer. At last I've found one called snappii.com Here even beginners in coding can be successful app makers.