Facebook's Project Spartan is go as social network finally unveils HTML5 app platform

Updated web app adds games to roster

Facebook's Project Spartan is go as social network finally unveils HTML5 app platform
With more false starts than an old Morris Minor, Facebook's HTML5 app platform – internally dubbed Project Spartan – has finally got off the ground without a CEO taking to the stage anywhere around the globe.

The new service, which brings games to both Facebook's native and web apps, had been expected to be unveiled firstly at the firm's F8 conference, and latterly at Apple's Let's Talk iPhone event, only to be pushed – if rumour is to believed – as former CEO Steve Jobs' health deteriorated.

Now, with little buzz or fanfare, Facebook has coupled the launch of its first official app for iPad with an update for the social network's web and native apps for iPhone, adding games to the platform's menu system.

No face-off with Apple

Facebook has been able to sidestep any potential altercations with Apple because the platform doesn't just accomodate HTML5 games - it also points users towards the App Store on occassion.

Developers will be able to utilise what he social network has dubbed 'bookmarks' to inform those using iOS Facebook apps that a mobile version exists.

As such, if there's a native iOS app on the App Store, gamers will be pushed in that direction. If not, they'll be taken directly to the new web app.

Flasher than Flash

For developers - and the likes of EA, wooga and Zynga are already reported to be on board - Facebook games previously restricted to Flash-equipped browsers will now be able to target iOS through the platform.

However, there doesn't yet appear to be a centralised hub within Facebook for the apps themselves – games are instead found by when a user types their name into the app's search bar.

Apps on board can make use of Facebook Credits for their virtual currency needs (third-party options are blocked), while said games can also be pinned to the device's home screen and loaded automatically in much the same way as existing web apps for mobile.

Though currently limited to iOS, however, it's already been confirmed that an Android viral channel is on the way, presumably working in a similar fashion.

[source: Inside Mobile Apps]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.