This article feels like matching two brothers from the same mother. jQuery Mobile does not need too many announcements; it is probably the most commonly used HTML 5 frameworks and it is all thanks to his older brother jQuery. Kendo UI is in the same line of business. Just like jQuery Mobile Kendo UI requires a jQuery application framework (or AngularJS). The last statement is the main reason I’m calling them brothers from the same mother.
But there’s one large difference between them, jQuery Mobile is open source while Kendo UI is a commercial product. Don’t let this comment pull you to jQuery Mobile side just yet, open source doesn’t mean it is better. Same thing goes for the commercial nature of Kendo UI.
This article is a part of a series where I am trying to explain differences between different HTML5 application frameworks. Original article is talking about a broad differences between 7 most popular HTML5 mobile frameworks. Follow a previous link if you want to find out more about them.
jQuery Mobile vs Kendo UI
I will try to make this article as objective as I can. Before we go any further, let me be more transparent with you. I have originally started to work with jQuery Mobile 2 years ago. During that time I have joined StackOverflow, and while helping other jQuery Mobile developers I’ve read something about Kendo UI. It intrigued me enough to spend few weeks playing with it. This article is the product of that time.
Match 1 – Marketing and platform support
Kendo UI and jQuery Mobile are a bit different in kind. jQuery Mobile is promoted as:
[quote]jQuery Mobile: Touch-Optimized Web Framework for Smartphones & Tablets. A unified, HTML5-based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Its lightweight code is built with progressive enhancement and has a flexible, easily themeable design, etc.[/quote]
As you can see, jQuery Mobile developers are trying to promote them self as a new product in a line of other great products. Its mobile nature was described as early as the second sentence. This is important because you need to understand that Kendo UI is a similar yet different “beast”. Kendo UI provides much more than mobile use, compared to jQuery products, Kendo UI looks like a combination of jQuery UI with jQuery Mobile (with a dose of server side support). These are the words used at Kendo UI site:
- Supported by large number of mobile platforms and desktop browsers.
- Unfortunately, that same support creates a lot of problems, but more about them later.
- Not promoted as “One and the only” HTML5 framework you want and need.
- Similar case like jQuery Mobile. Kendo UI support every major HTML desktop browser plus every major mobile platform. Little bit less then jQuery Mobile but every major/important platform is supported.
- Down to earth marketing.
Match 2 – UI and visual impression
Look and feel, this topic is again going to be close. jQuery Mobile uses the same UI regardless the platform. This is excellent if you want to provide platform consistency. Unfortunately, UI looks too much like iOS; thankfully that was fixed with version 1.4. Very large set of widgets is provided, not to mention large 3rd party support (more about it here and here). Widgets are fully responsive and play well during the screen rotations.
From the “look” perspective, Kendo UI provides more than jQuery Mobile. Where jQuery Mobile provides one theme (several swatches), Kendo UI provides several themes. There’s a theme made to mimic every kind (and version) of a mobile device.
There’s also one unique flat theme made to look the same on all available platforms. Widget support is as large as is a case with jQuery Mobile, with few exceptions and differences (for example jQuery Mobile provides excellent table view, and Kendo UI provides out of box carousel).
Layout design looks freakishly similar. Differences can be spotted only on a closer look. This was the first thing that led me to Kendo UI. The transition from jQuery Mobile to Kendo UI and vice versa is fast. During that transition, it took me only a few hours to start creating complex UI designs.
- Same UI regardless the platform
- Large out of the box and 3rd party widget support
- UI looks to much like iOS, this will change with a version 1.4
- Better page responsiveness then Kendo UI (I am talking about CSS responsiveness and different resolutions, not about performances)
- Compared to Kendo UI jQuery Mobile UI performance suffers highly on mobile devices, up to the point where applications can sometimes become useless (this can be mitigated with enough experience but never fully)
- UI can be easily modified, same thing goes for Kendo UI
- Large theme support, overall better usefulness if distinctive platform look and feel is needed
- Large widget support, almost the same like jQuery Mobiles (there are few exceptions)
- iOS look feels almost native like
- Much better UI performance on mobile devices, transitions are native like. Unfortunately performances will fall with more complex layout, then agin it will fall much much slower then in case of jQuery Mobile
jQuery Mobile example
Kendo UI example
jQuery Mobile jsFiddle example: http://jsfiddle.net/Gajotres/VKZEP/
Kendo UI jsFiddle example: http://jsfiddle.net/Gajotres/EvMsr/
Verdict: Kendo UI wins (mobile performance is main reason for this victory)