- In its latest software update, Facebook reduced the mobile core code of its Messenger platform on iOS by 84%. The update will be made available to users "over the next few weeks," the company said in the announcement.
- The prior version of the mobile app ran 1.7 million lines of code, while the update executes 360,000. The updated app loads twice as fast and takes up one-fourth its current size, according to Facebook's internal testing.
- First launched in 2011, Messenger expanded from a standalone text-based messaging app to include video calling, GIFs and location sharing. Project LightSpeed, an internal push to rebuild the iOS app, aimed to speed up and simplify the mobile app.
As applications age, technologists adapt to new technologies and build new features to meet user's needs. This can lead code to pile up, adding complexity and latency.
Mobile app simplicity is key at a time when the average business must deal with 88 different business applications on average, according to a report from Okta. In 2016, the same study found companies used 72 apps, which indicates an upward trend.
As digital tools become more available to front-line workers, speed and simplicity of mobile apps becomes a priority. Microsoft's recent slate of updates to Office 365 is aimed at front-line workers, with features such as a walkie-talkie-like system in Microsoft Teams, one-time passwords and shared device sign-out capabilities.
In 2017, Slack underwent a similar push, aimed at reducing the memory footprint its desktop app took up. The company's engineering team built "a tiny new Slack client" to handle less-frequently used Slack groups and reduce the app's memory footprint on desktop.
The Messenger app, Facebook's standard direct communication channel, hosts 1.3 billion monthly active users. For large customer-facing businesses such as JetBlue, the tool has become a required platform for customer service.