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Telerik Makes Kendo UI Available as Open Source Platform

Kendo UI Core includes the entire mobile framework.

It can be risky for a commercial company to open source some of its products -- after all, what was once generating revenue is now free to use and modify. But companies seem to be increasingly receptive to the practice; Microsoft's recent decision to open source its 'Roslyn' (now the .NET Compiler Platform) compiler, giving developers access to the C# and VB APIs, is a striking recent example. Now development tool maker Telerik has joined the growing chorus, open sourcing the core of its UI product, Kendo.

The company calls it the Telerik Kendo UI Core, and describes it as "a package of free and open industry-leading UI tools and JavaScript framework features, including Telerik Kendo UI Mobile." It includes 38 UI widgets and central JavaScript framework features like input validation, data binding and templates. The code is available via GitHub and Telerik.com.

Brandon Satrom, director of product management for Telerik, says that he views open sourcing a part of Kendo as a "complement to our strategy. We're trying to build a community, and get a much larger swath [of developers] interested in Kendo UI." More sophisticated packages, like Kendo UI Professional and Telerik UI for ASP.NET MVC, will remain commercial products.

Satrom explains the thinking behind Telerik's decision to give away some of its IP. "We concluded from a lot of customers that people were buying Kendo UI for [things like] grids or schedulers, not for the color picker [for example]." Exposing Kendo to more developers at a lower level, Satrom says, may convince them to try the Professional version for features like line of business and enterprise development tools.

He says that altruism, "giving back to developers," was also part of it the rationale for the move. "There's no doubt that open source is one of the ways we want to serve our primary customer, which is the developer. Open source is great way to do that."

Telerik has also recognized the larger industry move toward open sourcing products, and wants to be a part of it, according to Satrom. "On a large scale, software companies are moving in this direction," he says, with Microsoft at the forefront. Satrom worked for Microsoft for a number of years, before moving to Telerik.

"I think more companies are seeing software plus services as motivator for growth. It isn't that code is [becoming a] commodity, but it is a draw to something larger. We've made a lot of bets on our platform." The bet, Satrom says, is that once a much wider pool of potential customers has a chance to use Kendo UI Core, they'll come back for more.

Kendo UI Core is available under the generous Apache 2.0 license, so developers can use it for commercial and non-commercial projects, and contribute to the library.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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