Sidebar Resembles OS X

By David Morgenstern  |  Posted 2006-02-23 Print this article Print

Dashboard"> Apples Dashboard developer page describes three categories of Dashboard widgets: self-contained Accessory Widgets are similar to traditional desk accessory programs; Application Widgets that provide easy access to a feature of an existing application, such as an iTunes controller; and Information Widgets that present data from the Internet. Mac OS X programmers report that the widgets are easy to program and use a mix of HTML, JavaScript and CSS.
What do Windows XP, Windows Vista and Apples Mac OS X Tiger have in common? More than you might think. Click here to read more.
Microsoft may also look to the growth of Apples widget platform as a model for Vista Sidebar gadgets. When released last year, there were fewer than 20 widgets. Apples widget page today lists 1773 titles. More are available from third-party download sites. The February CTP version of Windows Vista includes a number of gadgets, including the feed viewer gadget, which takes advantage of Internet Explorer 7s new RSS Platform. The gadget allows the user to pick feeds they have already configured using IE 7 and displays items from those feeds. The launcher gadget allows users to set up shortcuts to applications and files simply by dragging the item to the gadget. Also included is the world clock gadget, which displays the time and allows the user to configure a time zone. The recycle bin gadget allows users to drag items to the gadget to move them to the Windows Recycle Bin. The slide show gadget cycles through photos in a folder and lets users personalize their Windows experience from their favorite photographs, the gadgets blog says. Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2. All the gadgets for Windows Sidebar can be downloaded from a Web site, received via e-mail, or installed with an application. "When a user encounters a .gadget file, they are able to double-click to install the gadget, a process that informs the user about any risks associated with gadgets and extracts the files for use by the Sidebar. The gadget file remains for the user to archive or delete," the blog states. Each gadget has the ability to be started multiple times by the user, so that they could have many different clocks for various time zones, or slideshow viewers of different picture collections. "This is possible because the gadget platform provides methods for developers to store settings, and associates settings with the correct instance of each gadget automatically. The gadgets also run automatically and with the same settings when the user logs out or restarts their computer," the blog said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

David Morgenstern is Executive Editor/Special Projects of eWEEK. Previously, he served as the news editor of Ziff Davis Internet and editor for Ziff Davis' Storage Supersite.

In 'the days,' he was an award-winning editor with the heralded MacWEEK newsweekly as well as eMediaweekly, a trade publication for managers of professional digital content creation.

David has also worked on the vendor side of the industry, including companies offering professional displays and color-calibration technology, and Internet video.

He can be reached here.


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