At its F8 developer conference Facebook today announced that it will soon open-source more of the technology behind its Paper mobile app for iOS. In a few weeks, the company will upload the code for DisplayNode to GitHub. This is the asynchronous user interface technology the company developed for Paper, which allows it to render large amounts of objects on the screen without slowing down the application.
Facebook says it still needs to test this code a bit more, but that it will be open for beta in the coming weeks.
This tool is meant to help developers create user interfaces that offer consistently smooth performance. The company says this is especially important for apps that make wide use of touch gestures or use realistic animations like bounce and spring effects.
If the main thread of an app stalls, Facebook said, that’s okay for a basic app, but if you use a physics-driven UI, those kinds of stalls immediately become apparent to users.
Layout, rendering text and images, as well as working with system objects can quickly become issues for complex apps like Paper. With older, iOS 6-style apps, it was all right to have a bit of a delay before an application reacted to touch, but now, apps have gotten even more visual and users expect more performance.
DisplayNode will join the six other parts of Paper that the company open-sourced recently. Just this week, for example, Facebook open-sourced Pop, the animation library that drives many parts of Paper’s user interface.