Feature Parity across Suites, and Clubbing Baby Seals

4 posts, 0 answers
  1. Aaron Lewis
    Aaron Lewis avatar
    22 posts
    Member since:
    Jan 2003

    Posted 15 Oct 2012 Link to this post


    As new controls and features are added to some of the Telerik product suites, other suites are being left behind. I am in no way complaining about new features being added to anything, mind you. I am simply asking that some consideration be made for all suites when you add new features to one. Prepare yourself to be amazed by a series of logical arguments that will compel you to take action! Namely, the action I want you to take...

    All About Me (or, "The Most Interesting Thing You've Ever Read In Your Whole Life")

    My main product makes heavy use of your ASP.Net AJAX controls. However, you have some goodies in your Silverlight controls that would really make some parts of my product shine. Specifically, the property grid and diagrams controls. Now, I know the diagrams control is very new, but the property grid has been available as a Silverlight control for quite some time, and there really is no (non-sucky) alternative out there on the market. Besides, I'd want it to use the Telerik controls for property value selection (RadColorPicker, RadDatePicker, etc).

    Now I understand the complexity involved in porting something like the Diagrams control to the ASP.Net AJAX suite, but you guys are the masters! And as for the property grid.. Well, if it were crazy easy, I'd write it, but for you guys it should be a snap, right?

    It's All About Love (or, "Gimme Mah Features!")

    I hate to come across as one of those people what with their, "why isn't my toolset getting any love?" whiny pitch, so let me try a logical angle here... The future of Silverlight looks... well, icky, Microsoft says it's their platform for development of Windows Phone applications (check your analytics, everybody -- a responsive, mobile-friendly UI is a far better investment than writing a UI just for Windows Phone). Also, they refuse to confirm or deny whether there's even going to be another major release after 5 (read: they wouldn't blood well refuse to confirm the next major release of ASP.Net MVC or Web Forms, so make your own conclusion), and teetering on the edge of irrelevance because of all the crazy nifty stuff you can do using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

    It doesn't even run inside the Windows 8 IE unless you drop to desktop.

    Mix-n-Match (or, "Mating with a Corpse -- Why It's Unhealthy")

    So, even using mix-and-match to embed the Silverlight controls in order to (kinda) integrate them into my product that makes use of the ASP.Net AJAX suite seems risky, especially since something like the property grid would be ubiquitous. The absolutely worst part of it is that I'd still have to write non-Silverlight code to duplicate the same functionality for those who cannot -- or choose not to -- install the Silverlight plug-in. And honestly, saying "no" to just about anything a browser asks you to install might not be a terrible recommendation to give non-tech-savvy web users these days.

    Did I mention I'd still have to duplicate the functionality in HTML anyway?

    KendoUI for Web (or, "Why Am I Paying Some Other Guy To Sleep With My Wife?")

    Before I forget, let me just ask: Why not clean up the ASP.Net AJAX controls? Why not make them all snazzy with whatever it is the KendoUI for Web stuff is supposed to offer that's so much better? I know it's tempting to scrap something that's become boring and start over with the latest and greatest, but for existing customers (us, in this case), why not do the right thing and re-plumb the old stuff? It makes me extremely nervous (like, a totally manly nervous) that you're dedicating resources to a new suite that looks like it wants to replace the existing suite, only it wants me to rewrite all my code for the same -- and often less -- functionality.

    Really, KendoUI for Web doesn't have anywhere near the number of controls. Are we supposed to mix and match ASP.Net AJAX controls with KendoUI for Web? Where does that leave us Web Forms people?

    Anyway, as far as KendoUI for Web is concerned, I'd just really love to see the resources that are being used/spent on that project redirected to making the ASP.Net AJAX suite(s) (WebForms/MVC) that much more awesome. And make them all HTML5 sparkly if you like, too.

    I'll avoid writing a whole section on disliking the idea of my subscription funding something that's going to make the current suite I've built my product around obsolete. That would just get all emotional and petty.

    In Summary

    I could have saved us all a whole lot of time by just saying, "Hey, Telerik. May I please, please, pretty please have the Property Grid included in the ASP.Net AJAX controls? Please? Oh and if you could find time for the Diagrams control, that'd be just peachy." But then I couldn't have made it seem like it was about bigger, more important things.

    Thank you for your consideration, and for the attention that I desperately crave.
  2. Edward
    Edward avatar
    13 posts
    Member since:
    Sep 2011

    Posted 16 Oct 2012 Link to this post


    Good for you that you are open-minded. But the problem is that lots of the people want IE6 support, lack of breaking changes and for them upgrading old project from 2008 to 2012 should be done with little effort as possible. They just don't like to make big changes in their project when updating. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". It is not heir fault however, if clients of clients are using IE6, then they don't need fancy svg graphics and diagrams controls, right?

    The development of some controls sometimes hit design limitations (that ware not visible 5 years ago...). This stops their progress further in some directions. And to make the given control better the developers should make some "breaking changes". The problem is that customers hate breaking changes..... this means rewriting working parts of their code. Yes after all the control is more optimized, faster, better looking and higher customizable, but.... if the clients dont use the new stuff, he will just complain that they should rewrite logic.

    After a while Kendo UI probably will became as powerful as this suite. And what will require less effort in the end: Rewriting the whole site only once, or upgrading it several times per year after each new fancy upgrade? Personally I would prefer to have 2 different stable suites, rather than only one with big changes every quarter of the year.

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  4. Aaron Lewis
    Aaron Lewis avatar
    22 posts
    Member since:
    Jan 2003

    Posted 16 Oct 2012 Link to this post

    Hmmm... You make good points. Like a blacksmith with good tools or Jack the Ripper stabbing holes in a curtain so he can light a candle behind it to make it look like stars.

    I don't know about everyone else, but according to my analytic reports, IE6 users account for 1% -- and I really wonder if most of those aren't just bots/scripts identifying themselves in the request headers with that old user agent.

    Regardless, though, I wasn't really suggesting that they drop IE6 support. I was thinking they could do the whole "progressive enhancement" thing, where some of the whiz-bang stuff is only available to later browsers, but with graceful fallback for older ones. I really, really, really don't want to have to re-write over 1 million lines of GuildPortal code to switch to KendoUI for Web when they could just progressively modernize the existing ASP.Net AJAX controls. Mind you, I mostly mean re-plumbing to the new standards and adding features, not making breaking changes on the developer-facing side.

    For example, they could add a RowTransitions child to the grid/MasterTableView/child table views, and under that, things like MouseOverTransition and SelectTransition, all with properties that translate into HTML5/CSS3 goodness. But they wouldn't be required, like many of the sub-elements in the existing controls, so they wouldn't break anybody's code when there's a new release.

    Take that approach, instead of investing heavily in completely rewriting an entirely new UI suite with the exact same platform being targeted (the browser), and you avoid having everybody's code break drastically when you decide KendoUI gets more resources and the ASP.Net AJAX suite is left to rot, and we're compelled to switch.
  5. Iana Tsolova
    Iana Tsolova avatar
    3388 posts

    Posted 28 Oct 2012 Link to this post

    Hello Guys,

    First of all, thank you for the great discussion and for sharing both sides of the story.

    To calm down the situation, I would like to say that RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX suite is not abandon at all. We will continue developing new features and new controls, look what we did this year. More important, we will continue implementing the new things you, our customers, requested. As to the "progressive enhancement", I cannot promise it now, but can say that we are working on improvements. We will try to avoid the breaking changes part.

    Kind regards,
    Iana Tsolova
    the Telerik team
    If you want to get updates on new releases, tips and tricks and sneak peeks at our product labs directly from the developers working on the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX, subscribe to their blog feed now.
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