Windows Vista Gadgets

Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system includes support for widgets on every desktop. Windows widgets are permanently docked in a sidebar, providing up-to-date information and easy access to small tasks throughout the day. In this article I will walk you through the major components of a Windows Vista Sidebar gadget including major differentiating features, best practices, and tips for widget packaging and distribution.

Widget Basics

The total number of widget platforms and deployment options intimidate many newcomers. Each platform offers a unique audience and features, but widget basics remain the same across Windows Vista, Nokia S60, Google, MySpace. and more. In this post I will outline the basic components of a widget including static assets, user preferences, processing remote data, and rendering your final widget.

Widget Summit schedule complete

The Widget Summit schedule is now complete, and I am pretty happy with the results. My goal for the conference is to provide two days of intensive education about the current state of the widget industry and share best practices with the many new publishers entering the space. This year’s conference spans two days, October 15-16, covering both the business and implementation of widgets. I will share some of my speaker notes before the conference, but first let’s take a look at some of the overarching themes of Widget Summit.

Widget nomenclature

Widget terminology often confuses newcomers. The variance of terms — widget, gadget, module, badge, button, etc. — can create impressions of a fragmented industry in its early days, not able to agree on anything as simple as a name. In this post I will walk you through the etymology and nomenclature of widgets and its variances. I interpret each term as a separate meaning, not a synonym, depending on the structure and use of widget content.

A brief widget history

The widget technology we take for granted today has been over 25 years in the making. Small pieces of customized desktop and web content have made their way into our lives whether you call it an accessory, a widget, a web part, or a gadget. This post highlights some key moments in widget platform history that have shaped where we are today.