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Upcoming Release of Kuali Rapid Application Development Framework To Include Bootstrap

The Kuali Foundation has revealed plans to include the Bootstrap Web development framework as part of its new Kuali Rapid Application Development (KRAD) framework with the release of Kuali Rice 2.3, which is scheduled for July 31 of this year. The KRAD framework with Bootstrap will enable developers to modernize the interface and functionality of Kuali applications.

KRAD is the new Kuali development framework that replaces the legacy Kuali Nervous System (KNS) framework. Kuali started creating KRAD three years ago with the goal of enabling developers to upgrade and modernize the user interfaces of the Kuali applications. The upcoming release of Kuali Rice 2.3 will include the first fully functional version of KRAD and will introduce support for the Bootstrap Web development framework and its accompanying dynamic stylesheet language called LESS.

The inclusion of Bootstrap in the KRAD framework will enable:

  • A more modern look and feel for applications;
  • Responsive design for improved user interfaces and usability;
  • Customization of applications to use institutional logos and color schemes; and
  • Support for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

All Kuali applications were developed using the KNS framework, and numerous universities have also used it to develop their own custom, in-house applications. However, it was very difficult for developers to customize the user interface of those applications to use their institution's logo and color scheme. The inclusion of Bootstrap in KRAD 2.3 will introduce the concept of themes, which will allow applications "to be built with KRAD but not necessarily all look the same (as was the case with the KNS framework)," according to a post on the Kuali Rice blog.

"We will ship with a default look and feel that can be easily customized, which is important to support a variety of applications and for institutional implementations” said Jerry Neal, senior developer at Indiana University and KRAD architect. "Institutions typically need to change logos and colors to match their branding."

Support for mobile devices was also a driving factor behind the adoption of Bootstrap. "The mobile support in general is very important to us," said Neal. "Support of mobile devices is critical for the future success of Kuali."

Kuali has released a YouTube video showing a prototype of the Kuali Coeus application developed using KRAD with the Bootstrap framework. The video demonstrates how the new interface enables users to access application links from a drop-down menu, quickly access document search functionality, and easily use other functions with a clean and intuitive interface.

While Kuali Rice 2.3 will be released at the end of July, it will take developers some time to convert the Kuali applications to the new KRAD framework. According to Jerry Neal, senior developer at Indiana University and KRAD architect, the Kuali Student application will likely be the first Kuali project released under the new framework, possibly by the end of this year. The other Kuali applications may begin conversion at the beginning of next year, and it's uncertain at this point when they will be released with the new interface.

Further information about the upcoming release of KRAD can be found on the Kuali Rice blog.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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