Yahoo Adds Flash, HTML to Widgets Platform

Yahoo Widgets 4.5 offers a new platform for developers and a gallery for consumers.

Yahoo is upgrading its Yahoo Widgets platform to support developers using Adobe Flash and HTML to create widgets.

Yahoo Nov. 29 announced Yahoo Widgets Version 4.5, which delivers an updated widget platform for developers and a new Widget Gallery for consumers, said Scott Derringer, director of product management at Yahoo. Widgets are mini-applications that live on a desktop and deliver personalized, up-to-date information to help users.

"Flash opens the door to all sorts of rich experiences" such as streaming video and games, Derringer said. Support for HTML makes it easier for developers to pull information down from Web pages to create widgets, he said.

"HTML is easier than JavaScript," which is typically used to create Yahoo Widgets, Derringer said. "Also, people already have assets in HTML and Flash, and they can now take them and expand them into Yahoo Widgets."

In addition, Yahoo has introduced a more granular security model that expands the capabilities of the widget engine. The company also has added a full DOM (Document Object Model), he said. "Its a W3C [World Wide Web Consortium]-compliant DOM that makes it easier for JavaScript developers to develop widgets."

Derringer said Yahoo already has a collection of more than 4,300 widgets—some developed by Yahoo and most by others. "Weve seen a wonderful explosion in the widget space," he said.


Click here to read about the security implications of the widget trend.

Other new features from Yahoo for developers include the ability to create more engaging desktop widgets by using new rich-media capabilities, including video. Developers also can now download their desktop widgets from any Web page with one to two clicks via the new in-page installer badges. Developers widgets also can now be discovered by more users via the Yahoo Widget Gallery, which features a new search engine optimization capability, Derringer said.

Yahoo also revamped its widget offerings for consumers. The company is making it easier for users to discover and download desktop widgets that deliver content and services from the Yahoo Widget Gallery.

Yahoo also is expanding the number of widgets users can enjoy on the Yahoo Widget platform by collaborating with several leading widget creation and distribution platforms, such as Clearspring Technologies. The Clearspring partnership allows the use of widgets from media partners such as NBC Universal, Maxim and Time magazine.

Also, Netvibes announced at the Widget Summit in October that the thousands of widgets built using the Netvibes UWA (Universal Widget API) will now be available as desktop Yahoo Widgets from the Netvibes Ecosystem.


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