Thank you for the nice question, Victor.
Staying on top of the competing products has always been one of telerik's main goals. However, times just got harder as we now have to compete against giants like Microsoft. We all know their goals but we will struggle to stay on top through innovation, new ideas and faster delivery of new products to the ever demanding telerik clientele.
My reply will be largely based on the discussion we had a couple of months ago in our Community Forums: atlas go live and telerik controls, so I will suggest that you get acquainted with this thread before reading on. UPDATE (June 28th, 2006): As of our r.a.d.controls Q2 release, we have a new AJAX product - r.a.d.ajax. Due to the features it incorporates, the information in atlas go live and telerik controls is somewhat outdated. To get familiar with the new product and its features, review telerik AJAX framework and Advantages of telerik AJAX framework.
Things have changed since the discussion in the above post - back then we thought that using telerik controls with Atlas will be rather hard, if not impossible. Well, there are no impossible things, and after extensive research and hard development, we provided full Atlas support for our products, as described in detail in the Atlas Interoperability page. telerik was the first to provide Atlas interoperability, just as it was the first to offer .NET2 versions of r.a.d.controls, and one of the pace setters in using AJAX (our first product utilizing this technology was introduced in 2003).
I am pointing these facts for one reason only: telerik's dedication to stay on top of things. How are we to fight Atlas? Well, we are not sure that we will directly, although our plans are to stay in front of it as much (and as long) as possible, i.e. we hope to keep our leading position in the AJAX world for .NET. There are at least a couple strong reasons why our AJAX offering is better:
- the new callback version r.a.d.ajax v1.0 (which is pending patent) offers codeless integration of AJAX technology in any application, even in existing ones. The developer does not need to know how AJAX works, how to make it work, or any other particulars of the framework. All he needs to do is drop the RadAjaxPanel on the page to start making callbacks, and use RadAjaxManager to hook any control to update another. Simple, isn't? More information can be found here:
- .NET1 support - ATLAS works on .NET2 only, whereas r.a.d.callback and r.a.d.ajax work on .NET1.x and .NET2. More than half of our customers are using .NET1.x, so this is still a major advantage.
- browser support - Our browser support is much stronger, and includes support for Mac, Linux and Opera. This reading suggests that MS is serious on cross-browser support and they may extend their current IE and Firefox support for the official version of Atlas next year. Nevertheless, we still have the edge at this time.
- standard MS web controls vs telerik web controls - I am not sure that the point I will make here will be valid after Atlas is released officially. But here it is: if you compare the standard treeview with our treeview, you will see that both controls do essentially the same thing, however ours is much more advanced, feature rich and customizable. The same holds true for the default MS grid when compared with r.a.d.grid. We think that this trend will continue once Atlas is released - our products will be easy to use, extendable and will probably handle more scenarios in an easier fashion.
- and, of course, we have some other strong sides - customer support (read comprehensive documentation, Forums, ready to use projects/examples, and tech support), willingness to provide new features and frequent bug fixes. To some of our clients, these alone are the turning points for choosing telerik.
We are still discussing our future AJAX plans, but we will let you know once we have set an action plan.