Archive for the ‘Widget’ Category

May 15, 2007

interesting post about widgets and mashups.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Hinchcliffe/?p=106

Looks like the time of the “standardised widget” is slowly coming, with the W3C spec http://www.w3.org/TR/widgets-reqs/ . Let’s hope platforms developers soon agree on  a common format. This will not only have an impact on the widget world but on all client side developments, as it will be a kind of application level HTTP ORB…

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About Ajax toolkits…

December 13, 2006

lots of toolkits are available today. They are cool but what we need is not necessarly cool effects (although some could help) but a framework that allows us to create our own widgets. So the question is not which toolkit to use but more which kind of design patterns or standard in writing a widget.  There are a few basic issues that are solved in these toolkits (like how to load libraries, how to link a html element and a JS class, what format to use for a class etc.) and the community should focus first on these points instead of trying to offer toolkits thaht have been writing for a specific context (i can’t see any that I can apply in my applications). We need design patterns and widget coding guidelines, not toolkits.. In the meantime, the only library I find useful – as a standard – is prototype.js … 🙂

Windows Live toolbar

October 24, 2006

Thanks JC for the link to the Windows Live toolbar. This is the first post I try with this software. It is also the opportunity to have a quick look on this toolbar and see how it fits  in  the “gadgetisation” of the web through our desktops..

The software is made of a toolbar with nice features such as a blog writer, link to RSS feeds, tabbed browsing, a synchronisation tool with server for favourite links (overlap with delicious?), popup blocker (yet another one?), desktop search (overlap with Google desktop) and also the ability to create new menus.

This is similar to other gadget engines in the sense as it provides an interface to web resources. It is still in beta so we’ll have to wait until the end of the program to see what can actually be done with the system (the button gallery is not yet very large)…

Adding new applications/buttons seems to be done as a standard MSI download.. This probably means applications and smart buttons in the toolbar require .NET development. Huh! Compared to other systems based on html/js/css, this could be quite complex to develop a simple menu and this is likely to deter a lot of people from adding their own gadget/menu.. However this toolbar seems a bit more useful than tabs we find in the messenger (which are pure marketing tools and related to a young audience). It then looks like the toolbar could be more targeting a professional audience and/or bloggers.

Microsoft Gadgets

October 19, 2006

Please ignore the last part of the previous post: Microsoft DOES provide a widget engine and is actually providing the right model for it… Just found their developer blog:

But as many features as we are adding to Live.com, the site is still very much a Gadget platform for you developers out there to build on. We rely on you to build rich and interesting Live Gadgets that we haven’t thought of, and to build a strong ecosystem around this platform. Live.com is still in Beta today, but it promises to be one of the most popular Internet destinations when we launch later this year. You can leverage on the high traffic site to extend services beyond your web site by building Gadgets that live on Live.com.”

and their todo list seems promising:

Some of the things that we know we need to work on are:

  1. Unified Gadget model – we want to enable developers to write a Gadget once and have it run on both Vista Sidebar and on the web, maybe even in other environments.
  2. Allow 3rd party gadgets to change header and footer – today, all 3rd party Gadgets are hosted within and iframe and do not have access to the title, title icon and footer.
  3. Make calling web services easier – this is self-explanatory.
  4. Better Settings model – there is no standard way to do settings today for 3rd party Gadgets. We would like to move to a more declarative model.
  5. Better Localization model – we provide API for you to find out the query the current locale but we don’t provide much other support otherwise. This is not a big problem for most Gadgets, but it would be nice for more advanced Gadgets.

Looks like we’ll see Vista with a widget system intergrated in side bars… Anyone having tested Vista yet?

But will that support other platforms? Y! and G! widget engines work on PC and Macs…

Widget engine: a bridge between web and desktop applications

October 18, 2006

(sometimes I hate WordPress… Second time it loses all the post content and I have to write again… A summary will do I hope…)

Widget engines again… Google, Yahoo and other are creating an interest by adding small applications that link users’ desktops to online applications or websites.

The interest as described in previous post could be very strong once a business application of these system is in place.

If that happens how could other actors react? and who are these potential actors?

Given the fact widgets create a new link from users to (potentially) branded content, it is likely the technology will create an interest from others such as Microsoft…

And M! has already in place most of the required technology within M! Live Messenger: an application which supports authentication, multi channels and a notification engine. And this piece of software already runs on a lot of computers of the planet!!

So the only missing bit is the ability for M! engineers to integrate a widget engine based on html+css+js+ajax and to integrate it in Messenger. Given the development resources they have it doesn’t seem out of reach..

So maybe we could see M! playing as well with this technology in a near future, we never know.. Probably all will depend on the success of G! as M! seems more like a follower on the web these days (personal view:-)…

I’d be interested in your comments on the subject…

Google widgets and Office2.0

October 18, 2006

Google has released a new API for integrating its wdgets in any website. !!!!!!

Which impact can we expect from this news?

On the short term, probably not much except in personal home pages as most of these widgets are “cool” but not very useful, at least for commercial websites. It is unlikely we see these widgets soon on corporate portals, except maybe for some of them like map searches, etc..

However the impact will probably be to awake the web to this type of technology which is:

  • a piece of information displayed in component made of html and javascript (easy to write),
  • this type of component can run on the desktop, in a website or on google portal.

Obviously we don’t really want to include google stuff everywhere, but when product developers realise that they can apply the same type of technology for THEIR own components, then we can expect that the next wave, right after AJAX, will be based on a type of architecture where the content can be freed from website pages. Pieces of content will appear simultaneously:

  • in collaborative websites where users can manage them in a central place,
  • on desktops in widgets frameworks (google/Y! etc.) : so that we can be notified of any new article without opening the website (convenient as side popups can display news without distracting too much user’s attention)
  • in other syndicated websites: similar to RSS feeds which allow content notification to be displayed in RSS readers thus increasing the visibility of the content. We could also with this technology foresee websites exchanging applications modules as a kind of marketing tool. Content syndication will then not only be limited to xml or text forms but will include applications as well (just like Google maps are included in websites).

Is this impact limited to Google only?

probably not. We can expect Yahoo to release a web API and jump onto the mashup train. This new branding channel is too good to be left to a competitor…

This architecture will probably be most useful when provided by other “independent” widget frameworks such as http://www.widgetbox.com/ (mentioned in Reuters news).  although this one does not yet provide a desktop engine for running its widgets and then is limiting their use to online mashup pages only.

Conclusion:

this technology is not yet advanced enough for commercial use but will probably be added to the Ajax-web2.0 pot soon (1-2 years?) so it might be interesting to keep an open eye on its progress…

We can also expect to see other widget engines to come up as well as there might be a dormant commercial market for it and current vendors provide solution targeting more personnal sites than commercial sites. Such a vendor would benefit from the technology awareness provided by Google and heat it up by real applications…