Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Widgets and Gadgets

Category: Google, Widgets, Yahoo!

>We have had a couple of interesting announcements in the worlds of Widgadgets. First, Yahoo! launched a new version of the Widget platform: Yahoo! Widgets 4.5, and second, Google Gadgets have gone across another platform, with new support for the Mac and Dashboard.

Yahoo! Widgets 4.5

What’s New for Widget developers:

Yahoo! Widgets 4.5 now makes it easier for Widget authors to drive deeper engagement with users.

  • Build even more engaging desktop Widgets, using new rich-media capabilities, including video.
  • Utilize existing web development (HTML and Flash) skills to build compelling desktop Widgets.
  • Offer users the ability to download their desktop Widgets from any webpage within 1-2 clicks via the new In-page installer badges.
  • Enable easier discovery by more users, via the new Yahoo! Widget Gallery with improved SEO.

Read more on our blog!

Google Gadgets for the Mac

Google Gadgets for the Mac uses WebKit’s JavaScript engine inside Dashboard, so the majority of gadgets just work if they’re written properly. The rest can be fixed by following a few guidelines:

  • Use JavaScript, not JScript
  • WebKit is case-sensitive, JScript is not, which can lead to problems if you assume can you do things like interchange SetTimeOut() and setTimeout().
  • Avoid JScript-only features like collections and ActiveX.
  • Avoid IE-specific DOM extensions, just as if you were writing a multi-browser web application.
  • Avoid Windows-specific APIs
    • You shouldn’t assume ActiveX or certain DLLs are available. Neither WebKit nor Mac OS X supports ActiveX, so these gadgets must be rewritten.
    • Avoid Windows-only APIs such as Google Talk. These APIs are not (yet) available on Mac OS X.
  • Understand how Dashboard is different
    • The Dashboard environment is very different from a web page or the Desktop sidebar on Windows in that it comes and goes as the user activates it. Don’t rely on your gadget always being visible. Your gadget won’t run or update when Dashboard isn’t in the foreground.
    • Don’t rely on access to the file system. The security model for Dashboard doesn’t allow arbitrary file access to the hard disk, although your gadget does have access to files in its own archive. Things like file pickers won’t work. Note that while restricted file system access is a departure from how gadgets work on Windows, it’s consistent with Dashboard’s security model and the behavior of other widgets developed for Mac OS X.

    For more details, see Writing a Cross-Platform Gadget, part of the Desktop Gadget API documentation.

    If you’re interested in developing your own gadget, visit the Gadgets API homepage. If you’re already a gadget developer, download the beta today to test your gadget and ensure that it works correctly.

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    Posted by Dion Almaer at 1:00 pm
    2 Comments

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    I just wished there was a NEW name for widgets/gadgets because both these has another meaning in another context, and it’s slightly annoying to have two names for it.
    Something that immidiatly describes what this is, while still being as catchy and easy to remember.

    Comment by Mikael Bergkvist — November 29, 2007

    cudgets. Cause they are cute, and they are widgets! Yay! ^^

    Comment by Thorsten — November 29, 2007

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