Kendo UI is a framework built on the jQuery library designed to give a rich and robust feel to modern web sites and applications. One of the problems with jQuery UI over the years I experienced was the lack of cohesive look for the UI elements in my projects. Items didn’t have common classes and styling. Basic inputs were so dramatically different than DatePicker fields, everything looked very disjointed, and the issues would take anywhere from an hour for small bugs to days for larger-scale changes. Simply put, if the default theme you picked to start from didn’t suit all your needs, you had a long day ahead of yourself.
It’s the finishing touches in Kendo UI’s approach makes it far more production ready. While both Kendo UI and jQuery UI come with themes for developing a vanilla application, Kendo UI has themes specifically developed to adhere and work within popular modern CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Material Design. You can find a fully functional widget comparison between the two libraries here.
Kendo UI does a few things not currently supported in jQuery UI, including two big ones: data visualization and form validation. Validation using an HTML5 mechanism of implementing client-side form validation being included means that’s one less dependency to need later on. Error handling and custom rules are easy to configure via data-rel options. Through the Kendo UI DataViz, an API that provides Pie, Line, Bar, Column, and Scatter charts to your applications and websites, Kendo UI provides a range of superb of data visualizations. DataViz segments are drawn with SVG components, making it possible to render your data from as far back to IE7 to mobile browsers on the latest iOS and Android platforms.
After a few months of learning the ins and outs, and as someone who doesn’t quickly jump on these kinds of tool sets, I would absolutely recommend Kendo UI to any UI/UX developer looking to freshen up their application offering without having to write hundreds of lines of CSS overrides. While jQuery UI is solid, the areas its lacks are what Kendo UI builds upon in spades. Having a project that maintains its consistency across every module is what separates a A+ from a B. Don’t settle for a B.