We've spent a lot of time talking to customers about Kendo UI, our framework for building rich web applications with modern web standards like HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery. Since its launch in November 2011, we've answered many questions on the Kendo UI Forums, Stack Overflow, Twitter and elsewhere.

One of the most frequently asked questions involves comparing Kendo UI with jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile. On this site, we've documented the similarities and differences between these frameworks in the hope of providing an answer to this question in a more detailed manner than what you may have read, seen, or heard elsewhere.


I work for Telerik as a Developer Evangelist. My role is to help developers be awesome with Kendo UI and our other products. That stated, our views of the world may differ on the matter of jQuery UI vs Kendo UI. It is my goal to present a detailed and accurate comparison of these frameworks so that you can make an informed decision if you are in midst of an evaluation. By the way, if you see something that I've stuffed up, please let me know!

John Bristowe (@JohnBristowe)
January 2012

I work for Telerik as a Developer Advocate and am also a member of the jQuery UI team. Therefore I have the unique position of having a double bias when comparing these frameworks. My goal is to provide an accurate comparison to aid developers.

TJ VanToll (@tjvantoll)
September 2013

I am the original Developer Advocate for Kendo UI. Now that Kendo UI has released the open source Core version, it is with great pride that I update this site.

Burke Holland (@burkeholland)
April 2014


Kendo UI and jQuery UI are JavaScript frameworks that provide many useful and robust building blocks for modern web applications. Both are built on top of jQuery, the most popular JavaScript library in use today.

jQuery UI

jQuery UI is part of the jQuery Project and is described as:

jQuery UI is a curated set of user interface interactions, effects, widgets, and themes built on top of the jQuery JavaScript Library. Whether you're building highly interactive web applications or you just need to add a date picker to a form control, jQuery UI is the perfect choice.

jQuery UI is a popular JavaScript framework in the web developer community.

Demos & Documentation »

License: MIT

Kendo UI

Kendo UI is a pure JavaScript framework with CSS defined for styling and behaviors. It is developed by Telerik and is comprised of the following three products:

Kendo UI Web
Contains the core functionality of Kendo UI framework, including the DataSource component, templates, drag-and-drop, and themeable widgets with integrated animations.
Kendo UI DataViz
A collection of HTML5-powered, mobile-ready, data visualization widgets.
Kendo UI Mobile
Native UI widgets for building HTML5-powered apps and sites for modern mobile devices.

Demos & Documentation »

License: Apache 2 or commercial

Why Kendo UI?

Kendo UI is an end-to-end solution for modern client-side development. It's everything you need for building applications for modern web standards, saving developers time and minimizing frustration by providing an integrated - yet highly modular - framework.

Kendo UI framework is developed by Telerik – a leading provider of development and testing tools for web, desktop and mobile applications. We are trusted by over 100,000 customers worldwide for our innovation and industry-best technical support. It is our commitment to provide first class support and a rapid, regular release cycle.

When building Kendo UI, we wanted to ensure that the out-of-the-box features were highly-tuned to the tasks at hand and capable of maximum performance. We also wanted to minimize external dependencies so Kendo UI could evolve quickly. To do that, Kendo UI provides many of its own implementations for core framework features.

You can use jQuery UI with Kendo UI without conflict. However, Kendo UI is not based on jQuery UI. Kendo UI has been built from the ground-up to deliver a rich, HTML5-based application framework that is tuned for performance and positioned to rapidly evolve over time.

Many more widgets, features, and overall improvements are scheduled for Kendo UI Web, Kendo UI DataViz, and Kendo UI Mobile. For more information about what's coming, please take some time to review our roadmap!

Quick Comparison

The following table is based on data from jqueryui.com and telerik.com/kendo-ui:

Category jQuery UI Kendo UI
Widgets (Total) Yes (12) Yes (28)
Themes (Total) Yes (24) Yes (11)
Effects (Total) Yes (13) Yes (8)
Interactions (Total) Yes (5) Yes (6)
Templates No Yes
DataSource No (see Dataview) Yes
Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) No Yes
Data Visualization No Yes
Globalization Yes (via Globalize) Yes
Validation No Yes
Browser Support IE 8+, Latest 2 versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera IE 7+, Firefox ESR, Safari 5+ (OS X), Opera 11+, Chrome, Android 2.2+, iOS 4.0+
Mobile Device Compatibility No (see jQuery UI Touch Punch) Yes


jQuery UI and Kendo UI both provide widgets for constructing the front-end interface of your web applications. These widgets are designed to support progressive enhancement, allowing users in older browsers to access existing content and functionality of native HTML types if certain capabilities aren't accessible by the framework.

View all Widgets for Comparison

There are a few additional things worth mentioning here:

  • Kendo UI's widgets can be declaratively initialized using HTML5 data attributes.
  • The Autocomplete widget in jQuery UI combines the functionality of the AutoComplete and ComboBox widgets in Kendo UI Web.
  • The Datepicker widget in jQuery UI combines the functionality of the Calendar and DatePicker widgets in Kendo UI Web.
  • There are many additional widgets available from the developer community that can be used with either library.
  • Future widgets for jQuery UI are noted on its roadmap.
  • Finally, Kendo UI is regularly adding new widgets and improvements to existing ones. Check out the Kendo UI Web roadmap, the Kendo UI DataViz roadmap, and the Kendo UI Mobile roadmap for more information.


Widgets in both jQuery UI and Kendo UI support themes and styling via CSS. Both frameworks also provide a number of themes out-of-the-box along with a means of creating custom themes.

Both jQuery UI and Kendo UI support the ability to customize themes. This can be done either manually or through a visual tool that's provided by both frameworks; the jQuery UI ThemeRoller and the Kendo UI ThemeBuilder.

Display of jQuery UI's ThemeRoller

jQuery UI's ThemeRoller

Display of Kendo UI's ThemeBuilder

Kendo UI's ThemeBuilder

Both the jQuery UI ThemeRoller and the Kendo UI ThemeBuilder serve the same purpose; to allow the quick creation of custom themes for widgets.

One major difference between the frameworks is in the CSS implementations. Kendo UI utilizes LESS; its ThemeBuilder can auto-generate LESS or CSS representations any custom theme. jQuery UI does not use a CSS preprocessor; it's ThemeRoller generates CSS for custom themes.


jQuery UI supports a rich framework for integrated effects and animations that can be applied to any DOM element. These effects include the ability to animate colours and conduct easing functions. Kendo UI has fewer integrated effects and easing functions than jQuery UI. These are also only present to support the visual transitions that occurs on its widgets.


jQuery UI includes a number of interactions to that you can use to apply to DOM elements. Kendo UI defines interactions that are used as part of its widgets.

The interactions provided by both jQuery UI and Kendo UI are highly customizable.

jQuery UI's interactions do not support touch events and are in the process of being rewritten.


jQuery UI does not support templating.

Kendo UI supports a simple, yet high performance templating engine.

In August 2011, Todd Anglin (@ToddAnglin) did a great job providing an overview the templating engine of Kendo UI in his blog post, Kendo UI Templates: Faster than a Speeding Resig:

One of the key components included in Kendo UI is a very high-performance JavaScript "micro-templating" implementation. Almost every JavaScript front-end development project needs templating, so consistent with Kendo UI's goal of providing everything you need for JavaScript development in a seamless, compact package, we've included a templating solution out-of-the-box.

A performance comparison of JavaScript template engines can be reviewed here.

Kendo UI Template Demo


A significant difference between jQuery UI and Kendo UI is support for a DataSource component.

A DataSource-like component called Dataview has been discussed for jQuery UI, but is currently on hold. You can read more about its progress on the wiki page for Dataview.

The DataSource component is a powerful abstraction of data in Kendo UI and is fundamental to the way in which databinding is conducted with widgets. While the concept of databinding of local and remote data source is supported in jQuery UI, no such abstraction exists.

From the demo page for the DataSource component:

The DataSource component is an abstraction for using local (arrays of JavaScript objects) or remote (XML, JSON, JSONP) data. It fully supports CRUD (create, read, update, delete) data operations and provides both local and server-side support for sorting, paging, filtering, grouping, and aggregates.

The DataSource component is powerful abstraction of Kendo UI and provides developers with the ability to perform local and remote databinding quickly.

Kendo UI DataSource Demo

Data Visualization

jQuery UI does not provide a framework for data visualizations.

Kendo UI provides a library of data visualizations through Kendo UI DataViz, an API that provides Pie, Line, Bar, Column, and Scatter charts to your applications and websites.

Kendo UI DataViz automatically uses SVG or VML to render rich data visualizations, depending on the capabilities of the browser. This makes it possible to render Kendo UI DataViz charts in [many] environments, from older browsers, like IE7, to mobile browsers on platforms like iOS and Android (Opera and the Android browser v3 and up).

Kendo UI DataViz is underpinned by the effects and interactions framework of Kendo UI to provide visual animations when rendering to the browser.

Display of 4 of Kendo UI's data visualizations

Examples of Kendo UI's Data Visualizations

Kendo UI DataViz Demos


Both jQuery UI and Kendo UI provide excellent support for globalization. Both frameworks have localized widgets for dates, currency, and time. With the exception of datepicker, jQuery UI's globalization options are dependent on the Globalize library; Kendo UI's globalization is included in the framework.

Display of jQuery UI's globalization

jQuery UI's globalization options

Display of Kendo UI's globalization

Kendo UI's globalization options

jQuery UI Date Demo jQuery UI Currency Demo jQuery UI Time Demo

Kendo UI Globalization Demo


jQuery UI does not provide a framework for validation.

Kendo UI includes validation out-of-the-box via the Validator component, which offers a mechanism of performing client-side form validation. Built around the HTML5 form validation attributes, it supports variety of built-in validation rules, but also provides a convenient way for setting custom rules handling.

Visual display of Kendo UI's validator

Kendo UI's Validator

Kendo UI Validator Demo

Browser Compatibility

Both jQuery UI and Kendo UI feature excellent support for modern and older browsers.

The big difference on this list is jQuery UI does not support mobile browsers and Kendo UI does. While most things in jQuery UI work fine on mobile browsers, the interactions do not. jQuery UI's interactions are being rewritten to support touch and pointer events, but until then using jQuery UI Touch Punch is recommended.

Kendo UI offers support for touch and mobile devices out-of-the-box. All widgets in Kendo UI provide full support for touchscreen devices, such as the iPad. The support for touch input is also extended to its support for drag-and-drop interactions with any DOM element.

jQuery UI removed support for IE6 in 1.10 and the Kendo UI team dropped support for IE6 after Beta 2. As of 1.11, jQuery UI no longer accepts bug reports for IE7. The workarounds for IE7 are still present in jQuery UI's code, but they will be removed in 1.12.

Web Standards Support

jQuery UI and Kendo UI leverage and utilize modern web standards when supported by the browser. Note: This also includes incorporating aspects of HTML5 and CSS3. The following isn't exhaustive; rather, it provides a set of examples where both jQuery UI and Kendo UI either incorporate or leverage modern web standards.

Accessibility is an important consideration for both jQuery UI and Kendo UI. Both frameworks provide keyboard accessible widgets, support ARIA attributes, and optimize user experiences on assistive devices such as screen readers.

Product Support

Both jQuery UI and Kendo UI feature support through a number of different means. Many web developers can find support online in forums and sites like Stack Overflow.

Support for jQuery UI is described on its website as follows:

The jQuery UI community is very active and provides a friendly, helpful environment when you need development advice or have ideas on how to improve a script. The jQuery UI Team encourages everyone to actively participate in the development of the library.

Commercial support for jQuery UI is available through third-party sponsors of the jQuery and jQuery UI projects.

For the commercial version of Kendo UI, Telerik offers a 48-hour guaranteed response time for tickets submitted to its support system. Additionally, Telerik is committed to providing all service packs and weekly builds for commercial customers.


jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI Mobile are jQuery based frameworks to create mobile web sites and applications.

jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile is described as:

A unified, HTML5-based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Its lightweight code is built with progressive enhancement, and has a flexible, easily themeable design.

License: MIT

Kendo UI Mobile

Kendo UI Mobile is a framework that allows you to build mobile apps that look and feel native with a single HTML5 and JavaScript codebase.

License: Apache 2


Both jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI Mobile provide a suite of widgets that can be used to create highly interactive user interfaces that target mobile devices.

Here's a visual sampling of the widgets that each framework provides.

Visual sampling of widgets provided by jQuery Mobile

Sample of jQuery Mobile widgets

Visual sampling of widgets provided by Kendo UI Mobile

Sample of Kendo UI Mobile widgets

jQuery Mobile Widget Demos Kendo UI Mobile Widget Demos

A couple of additional notes.


jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI mobile use different mechanisms to let you customize the look of your web sites or applications.

jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile has a concept of swatches that you can create to style individual widgets and elements. A theme can have up to 26 swatches and they are customizable using jQuery Mobile's ThemeRoller.

Display of jQuery Mobile swatches

Example of the swatches applied to buttons

Display of jQuery Mobile's ThemeRoller

jQuery Mobile's ThemeRoller

jQuery Mobile's ThemeRoller jQuery Mobile's theming docs

Kendo UI Mobile

Kendo UI Mobile features themes that replicate native mobile device OS experiences. These themes can be configured using Kendo UI Mobile's ThemeBuilder. The 2013 Q2 release of Kendo UI Mobile included a new flat theme in line with iOS 7.

Kendo UI Mobile's ThemeBuilder

Kendo UI Mobile's ThemeBuilder

Kendo UI Mobile's Flat Theme

Example of Kendo UI Mobile's flat theme

Kendo UI Mobile's ThemeBuilder

Page Transitions

Both jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI Mobile feature a series of CSS based transitions to transfer users between views or pages.

Compare Transitions in a Demo

jQuery Mobile's Transition Demos Kendo UI Mobile's Transition Demos

Browser Compatibility

Both jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI Mobile support all major phone operating systems and browsers.

Because of jQuery Mobile's progressive enhancement approach, the framework supports essentially all browsers in some capacity. The level of support is divided into three tiers - A grade (full support), B grade (full support, no AJAX navigation), and C grade (basic HTML). The full support list is too extensive to list here, but A grade support includes iOS 4+, Android 2.2+, IE8+, etc.

jQuery Mobile Graded Browser Support

Kendo UI Mobile supports:


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