Mobile application development tool provider Telerik on July 17 announced the availability of the second of three scheduled releases of Kendo UI, its HTML5/JavaScript framework for building websites and hybrid mobile applications.

The company said this release of Kendo UI focuses more on user experience, application design and application performance to help developers build better applications. “All three of those things are not necessarily built into the Web platform, so we feel like there’s an opportunity for tooling,” said Brandon Satrom, program-management lead of cross-platform tools and services at Telerik.

The problem with the native vs. hybrid argument right now, he said, is not the ability of HTML5 as a technology to meet developers’ needs, but that developers find HTML5 lacking if they don’t have the appropriate tools. “HTML5 gets a bad rap for not being ‘ready,’ but a lot of times it gets stacked up against native frameworks like iOS, which provide a ton of out-of-the-box tooling for building native app experiences,” he said.

“But now Kendo UI can help to level that playing field by focusing on some similar patterns, some similar widgets and some similar experiences.”

In Kendo UI Mobile, the company has added ASP.NET MVC server wrappers and a Facebook-style “Drawer menu” UI widget. There is also a new “flat UI” universal theme. Satrom said “flat” means removing a lot of ceremony from the UI.

“It’s removing a lot of transitions, gradients, effects and things like that,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of momentum around flat, both on the Web and in mobile. We’re moving away from this skeuomorphism of modern design that we’ve seen a lot in iOS and in other types of environments, and trying to create something that—to borrow Microsoft’s phrase—feels ‘authentically digital.’ It’s not trying to replicate a real-world concept, but rather [it creates] something that we know is digital, that lives and exists well in a digital world.”

Satrom said flat is an increasingly popular design trend that improves mobile application performance and saves on mobile battery life. “When you create something that has fewer gradients and fewer shadows and things like that, it’s going to be easier for a digital device to display it,” he said. “It’s going to be less battery-intensive and less intensive for the rendering device as well.

“We’re actually noticing a 30% performance improvement in apps that use that theme. This gets a lot closer to matching the performance of native and really reducing that gap where users can’t tell the difference between what’s native and what’s in a hybrid shell.”

A new feature in Kendo UI Web is a Scheduler widget. In Kendo UI Editor, there is added support for tables, and new responsive rendering that the company said adapts across desktop and mobile browsers.

In Kendo UI DataViz, the company added kinetic scrolling for large and virtualized lists, improved scrolling performance for all charts, and support for HTML5 Canvas rendering for all DataViz charts and graphs. The company also improved the speed of its View Transitions feature.

“When you’re building multi-screen apps, if you click on an item in a list view, it slides to another view. And, of course, native frameworks handle this quite smoothly,” said Satrom. “But inside of a hybrid app, we’re doing this with HTML. So we focused a lot in this quarter on making sure that those transitions felt very smooth and felt as native-like as possible.”