Most developers understand the importance of building modular software; dividing a complex problem into pieces makes code easier to reuse and maintain. And these benefits of modularity apply to more than just code. Consider the tools and processes you use to develop applications. Instead of using a single, all-encompassing tool, dividing your processes into individual modules has a number of advantages, such as the ability to

  • incorporate into existing infrastructure
    Have existing systems? Databases? Processes? Modular solutions let you swap out pieces of your tooling without replacing your entire architecture.
  • maintain tooling preferences
    Have an existing IDE or testing setup you're comfortable using? Then keep using it. With a modular approach, you can leave the tools that make sense for you in place.
  • respond to change
    Since you can swap out individual pieces of your development process, modular solutions are easier to update as your projects' requirements change.

Because of the flexibility it provides, modularity was a key tenet in the design of the Telerik Platform; therefore, while you can use the Telerik Platform for a complete, end-to-end mobile solution, you can also pick and choose only the pieces of the Platform you need.

To show this, let's look at the modules that the Telerik Platform provides for five aspects of application development: the UI, development, the backend, analytics, and testing.

We'll start with the UI.

UI

Regardless of whether you're building web, hybrid, or native apps, the Telerik Platform has a UI solution for you.

Web

On the web side, the Telerik Platform offers Kendo UI: an end-to-end HTML5/JavaScript framework for modern web and app development. Kendo UI comes with 20+ responsive web widgets, 10+ themes, server-side wrappers, full accessibility support, a full data visualization library, and more!

Visualization of the features in Kendo UI Web

While Kendo UI is a comprehensive library, it - like the Telerik Platform - is modular from top to bottom; therefore you're welcome to use alternative libraries alongside Kendo UI. Kendo UI even offers integrations into many popular setups, including

Hybrid

For hybrid applications, the Telerik platform provides Kendo UI Mobile: a JavaScript framework for building apps and sites that offer native-like experiences for end users automatically.

Visualization of the features in Kendo UI Mobile

Kendo UI Mobile automatically adapts to the platform it runs on - including support for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. Because of the native look and feel, and its focus on performance, Kendo UI Mobile is an excellent choice for building the UI of PhoneGap apps.

While we feel that Kendo UI Mobile is the best solution for building mobile web applications, we realize that you may have code written using another framework, or you may just prefer another tool; therefore if you choose to build your UI using another framework, you can still use the rest of the Telerik Platform. Since it's a common request, Telerik AppBuilder even offers a jQuery Mobile template.

Native

Finally, if you're building native apps, the Telerik Platform has your UI covered there as well. You can add our native UI controls suites for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android (coming soon), to any of your new or existing apps.

Visualization of Telerik's mobile offerings: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Development

No matter how you build your UI, you need an editor to develop it in. For hybrid applications, the Telerik Platform provides Telerik AppBuilder: a complete hybrid app development environment.

AppBuilder uses Apache Cordova to provide access to native device features. This means that not only do you get Cordova's 15+ device APIs - battery, camera, file system, etc - you also have access to the ever-growing library of Cordova plugins.

Telerik AppBuilder lets you develop applications in the browser, in a dedicated Windows client, or directly within Visual Studio.

Visualization of AppBuilder's three IDE choices

Not a Visual Studio user and want to keep using your favorite editor? No problem. While Telerik AppBuilder includes direct integrations for other Telerik Platform services, you can build your apps in any editor you'd like and still leverage the rest of the Platform.

Backend

Behind every UI is a backend that stores and manages the application's data. For this, the Telerik Platform offers Telerik Backend Services: a complete backend as a service - offering data storage, user authentication, granular user permissions, email, SMS, push notifications, and more.

Visualization of the services provided by Telerik Backend Services

While we feel that Telerik Backend Services is the ideal solution for any data storage and backend need, we realize that you may have existing infrastructure in place. You can use the rest of the Telerik Platform with your existing backend, or - since Telerik Backend Services is itself modular - you can use one service without needing to use the whole stack.

Have a legacy database system that you can't get away from? No worries. Keep your data where it is. You can still try out Telerik Backend Services to add SMS and push notifications to your apps.

Have an existing REST API? We have a guide on how to leverage existing backends from hybrid applications.

Developing for multiple platforms? Don't worry; Telerik Backend Services has SDKs for .NET, iOS, Android, JavaScript, and Windows Phone. You can easily store your data on one platform and retrieve it on another.

Analytics

Once your applications are in the wild, it's important to track how they're being used. For this need, the Telerik Platform provides Telerik Analytics: a service to track feature usage, runtime exceptions, and even application bottlenecks.

Visualization of the services provided by Telerik Analytics

Have an existing app? Adding Telerik Analytics is a great way to see what features your users are using, what devices they're using them on, and the problems they're running into.

Have applications deployed to multiple platforms? Telerik Analytics is a convenient solution for aggregating data from a multitude of platforms - including .NET, JavaScript, Java, Android, iOS, OS X, and Windows.

Building something new? Telerik Analytics is easily incorporated into new projects built with Telerik AppBuilder.

Already have an analytics solution in place? No problem. You can use the rest of the Telerik Platform modules with your own analytics system.

Testing

This brings us to the last, and longest phase of an application's life: its maintenance. To aide with the maintainability of your applications, the Telerik Platform provides Telerik Mobile Testing: an automated testing solution for native, hybrid, and web apps.

Visualization of the services provided by Telerik Mobile Testing

With Telerik Mobile Testing, you can write tests once, and execute them on any supported device - including iOS, Android, and web apps on any platform. From there, you can publish the results to the Telerik Platform and share them with others.

Building something new? Telerik Mobile Testing integrates into AppBuilder, making it easy to test your code during development.

Happy with your current testing infrastructure? No problem. While we feel Telerik Mobile Testing is a powerful solution to your mobile testing needs, you are free to use the rest of the Telerik Platform with your own mobile testing solution.

Wrapping Up

The benefits of modular software development apply to more than just code. By choosing processes that are modular, you choose solutions that integrate with existing infrastructure, let you keep the development practices you like, and make it easy to adapt in an ever-changing software world.

While the Telerik Platform is an end-to-end solution to mobile problems, each individual module of the Platform is built to enhance developer and team productivity for creating apps across multiple platforms; therefore, you can go all-in with the entire platform, or just use the pieces that ease your development issues today.

What's next? You can try the Telerik Platform out at https://platform.telerik.com, or you can register for our release keynote to learn more.

TJ VanToll

About the Author
TJ VanToll is a web developer, speaker, and writer living in Lansing, MI and working as a developer advocate for Telerik. He is an open source advocate that is on the jQuery UI team and publishes his blog open source. TJ is also the author of an upcoming book from Manning: jQuery UI in Action. When not online, TJ is generally found chasing his twin sons in circles. TJ is @tjvantoll on Twitter and tjvantoll on Github.


About the Author

TJ VanToll

is a web developer, speaker, and writer living in Lansing, MI and working as a developer advocate for Telerik. He is an open source advocate that is on the jQuery UI team and publishes his blog open source. TJ is also the author of an upcoming book from ManningjQuery UI in Action. When not online, TJ is generally found chasing his twin sons in circles. TJ is @tjvantoll on Twitter and tjvantoll on Github.

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