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Another Hybrid Framework Battle Begins -- Ionic vs. Kendo

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Another Hybrid Framework Battle Begins -- Ionic vs. Kendo

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In the web development world, there are a number of different frameworks used to varying degrees by developers looking to save time in their application development efforts. These include frameworks like AngularJS, ReactJS, and even just plain JQuery. This division of frameworks has bled into the mobile realm, as JavaScript UI frameworks for mobile development have evolved into robust suites of functionality that make mobile app development quick and relatively painless. Below we’ll look at two different mobile UI frameworks: Kendo and Ionic. We’ll take a look at the ideas underpinning each one, and examine situations in which one or the other will serve best.


As we mentioned in our article comparing Ionic and Famo.us, Ionic is a UI-focused framework built on AngularJS that makes integrating a coherent UI into a multi-platform web application seamless and easy. It uses AngularJS under the covers to implement DOM events and provide a MVC architecture for your application, and strives to provide the same experience on multiple devices, making creating an application with a native feel a snap. As it is built on AngularJS, it is very easy to add new AngularJS components that your application can integrate with, making it a very flexible option for developers looking to move an existing web app written in AngularJS to mobile devices.


Where Ionic is built upon AngularJS, Kendo UI is a mobile application development framework built on top of JQuery. It provides a number of UI widgets based on JQuery that make creating a cross-platform hybrid mobile app a painless process. Additionally, as it is built off of a well-known JavaScript framework commonly used for interactive web apps, extending the Kendo implementation – or working within existing Kendo code – should be highly familiar to any developers that have worked with JQuery before. Furthermore, recent efforts by the developer of Kendo have introduced AngularJS into the framework’s architecture, allowing you to use more modern web development practices as you build your HTML 5 hybrid application.


As always, choosing a framework is a game of tradeoffs. In terms of maturity, Kendo has been around longer than Ionic, and as such as a more mature feature set that is less prone to changes due to product evolution. This means that you are less likely to have to pivot your codebase due to drastic changes in the framework. However, this is not a serious concern as Ionic – with its heavy UI focus – does a lot of what Kendo does, only in a different way. Ultimately it comes down to ecosystem – Kendo, with a longer lifetime than Ionic, will necessarily have more immediate information available when troubleshooting development. However, Ionic is highly popular, meaning that when new issues are found they are likely to be reported more quickly.

While framework maturity is a concern, the reality is that ultimately there are a lot of developers working with both frameworks, and if there were any serious show-stopping issues then neither would be worth writing about at this point. In that case, choosing a framework comes down to the underlying JavaScript ecosystem. Are you more familiar with JQuery? If so, Kendo UI might be the right choice. However, if you expertise lies in AngularJS, then it might make more sense to pursue Ionic as your framework of choice.


While there is no right answer to the question of “Which framework is the best?”, there are many considerations that arise when developing a hybrid mobile application from scratch. If your application lends itself to JQuery more than Angular, then it makes sense to choose Kendo over Ionic. However, if you want to make use of more modern JavaScript web development in your hybrid app, you’ll likely want a lot of the features that Ionic has available when it comes to integrating with AngularJS. Of course there is nothing saying you need to limit yourself to just one framework for the life of your project – at the expense of some developer ramp-up time you can turn a Kendo app into an Ionic app, and vice-versa. Overall, the question of which framework to use should be based in the expertise of your developers and the needs of your application.

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