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With today’s introduction of the ASP.NET MVC wrappers for Kendo UI, or Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC as they’re officially called, many questions are sure to arise about their relationship to the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC. While the FAQs on noted our plans for ASP.NET MVC from the outset, today’s release brings more clarity to our long-term plans. In this blog post, I’m going to explain how the release of Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC impacts the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC.

Note: If you’d like to know more about Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC beta, please read this blog post on the blogs.

Short History and Current Status

The introduction of Microsoft’s ASP.NET MVC platform in 2009 was cause for celebration for some developers, and a source of frustration for others.  Unlike ASP.NET WebForms, ASP.NET MVC is geared towards the underlying technologies of the web—HTML, JavaScript, and CSS—and requires developers to do many tasks by hand that could traditionally be accomplished with server-side controls. In order to help developers preserve front-end productivity similar to that of the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX, Telerik pioneered the idea of rich, reusable UI for the MVC platform with the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC.

The Extensions served their purpose well. For years, they helped speed developer adoption of ASP.NET MVC while still delivering rich views in their web applications.

During this time, however, the rise of HTML5 and increasingly powerful client-side (i.e. JavaScript) applications began to take hold. In the .NET ecosystem, ASP.NET MVC was often the framework chosen to create these modern web applications and, as such, it became clear to Telerik that a more modern toolset was needed.

Thus emerged Kendo UI, a jQuery-based framework that includes everything you need to build modern web and mobile applications with HTML and JavaScript, regardless of server-side platform.

While Kendo UI takes no dependencies on server-side platforms, it does share much of its core DNA with the Telerik Extensions. The same engineering team at Telerik builds and maintains both products, and many of the controls and features exist in both toolsets today. Even still, the products are not identical, and maintaining both under a single team is an anchor on Telerik’s ability to rapidly deliver the new features and enhancements we know you want to see. That leads us to today’s release.

Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC (beta)

The introduction of server-side wrappers for Kendo UI paves the way for a single MVC future at Telerik. Upon its official release in mid-July, Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC will meet and exceed all of the functionality available in today’s Telerik Extensions for MVC. We’ll even provide pixel-perfect themes for Kendo UI that match today’s Extensions so old and new can be used side-by-side with no visual differences.

Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC will be Telerik’s primary offering for ASP.NET MVC developers after Q2 2012.

Does that mean the Telerik Extensions will stop working? Definitely not! But all new ASP.NET MVC development going forward should target Kendo UI to take advantage of Telerik’s on-going investment in these powerful tools. The Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC will reach end-of-life in June 2013.

With Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC, developers can continue to program using the server-side patterns established in the Telerik Extensions while building on the client-side power in Kendo UI’s JavaScript widgets.

Similar, But Not Identical

If you currently have the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC in your project and are completely happy with your implementation, there’s no need to upgrade. Your version of the Telerik Extensions will continue to work just fine and you will continue to receive support through Q2 2013. However, if you want to adopt MVC tools that will expand beyond today’s offering, Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC is your choice.

And while similar, Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC and Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC are not identical. Certain APIs have been changed to better fit the established Kendo UI client-side API. We have started to document all of these changes, and we will offer complete documentation and transition guidance with the official release in July.

The Transition Process

If you are considering a switch, Telerik is attempting to make the transition as easy as possible.

  1. First of all, Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC can be included in your project and work side-by-side with the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC. There is absolutely no need to rip out the Telerik Extensions to begin using Kendo UI. You can simply start replacing components over time and make the transition slowly.

    The new Kendo UI wrappers utilize a different namespace, Kendo.Mvc.UI, and they have a slightly modified API, but your users will notice no difference between the widgets used by each (if you choose to use an existing Extensions theme).

  2. We also are offering a migration guide, which you can find here, that covers the breaking changes between the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC and Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC. This document highlights the differences between the two MVC toolsets, and it will be continually updated leading to the official release.
We hope these resources make the transition as smooth as possible. If you encounter any trouble, please use our support ticketing system so we can happily assist with the process.

Licensing Questions

We have updated our FAQ to provide as much information as possible about the licensing impacts of the new Kendo UI wrappers, but here are some quick answers to some of the most common questions:

  1. Will I get a license for the new Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC wrappers?
    If you are a current Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC customer, you will automatically get a license for Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC when it ships in July.
  2. Do I have to upgrade to the Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC wrappers?
    You are not required to use Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC, though there are many benefits. You can continue to use the Telerik Extensions indefinitely if they meet the needs of your project. As outlined above, we will continue to prepare maintenance releases through Q2 2013.
  3. Will Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC be included in the Telerik bundles?
    Yes! Telerik Ultimate and Premium Collections will have access to Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC, which includes Kendo UI Web, DataViz, and Mobile (no server wrappers for Mobile at this time).

If you have more questions, I recommend reading over the FAQ that linked above. Most of the common questions are answered there and it is a great place to learn more about this product transition.

The Future Is Bright

With any major step forward like this we know there are many questions and cases that cannot be addressed by a single blog post. We are excited to take this step, though, as it will unlock our ability to rapidly deliver new features and new widgets to MVC developers via Kendo UI. We hope that you’ll take this step with us and let us know how we can continue to make your lives as MVC developers easier.

In the meantime, download the Kendo UI for ASP.NET MVC beta and stay tuned for the final Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC new features release coming with the Telerik Q2 2012 release in two weeks!

Carl Bergenhem
About the Author

Carl Bergenhem

Carl Bergenhem was the Product Manager for Kendo UI.

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