What are Widgets?
Widgets can be any icon or graphical interface element manipulated by a user to execute a desired task on the Internet or on the computer. They are usually pieces of programming code embedded on an image file programmed to react to mouse clicks or keyboard commands.
The icons located on the desktop, including media player buttons, Web browser controls, and email function controls, are considered widgets. When a user clicks or manipulates the widgets with a mouse or a keyboard, the user is interacting with the computer or website, essentially telling the user’s desired action.
Types of Widgets
There are three types of widgets used to accomplish different functions:
Users can download these widgets and may keep them running continuously in the background.
These widgets provide a pervasive kind of experience for the widget producer, even when the user is offline.
They must be downloaded and can only be seen by the user who downloaded it.
Personal Web Widgets
These widgets are used to create a personal website by embedding contents from one site into a page on another site.
The widgets may be viewed continuously by users who have set their personal home pages as their browser’s start page.
These widgets can only be viewed by the user.
Public Web Widgets
These widgets are publicly posted in social network profiles, online communities, blogs, and other similar sites. They can stay on those pages indefinitely.
These widgets can be seen by many people, and the user can install it on multiple sites.
New contents must be provided daily or weekly by the publisher to keep the widgets fresh. They also must be highly interactive so their users can experience them in different ways.
Desktop Widget Choices
Apple Dashboard and Microsoft Windows Vista Sidebar
These widgets can potentially take up a significant amount of system resources as each widget is a full-on Web page. These widgets are strongly tied to the operating system (OS).
These widgets have the largest addressable audience. They feature powerful design, animation, and interaction facilities that are based on five years of developer feedback. These widgets have more application-like environments than Google gadgets or DHTML.
These widgets lack video support. Their familiarity with Yahoo’s XML language over DHTML is an advantage, though.
Google Desktop Gadgets
These widgets are fairly limited in its abilities as compared to other engines, specifically in the presentation. Their interface is riddled with update flashes and jerky motions and they require the download of the entire Google Desktop package before it can run.
Basic Web Widgets Format
It has remained a popular choice for dynamically changing the content of a Web page and its interaction. It executes as part of the Web page and with access to the page’s current structure and mark-up. It can add additional elements to the page, such as additional scripts, styles, or embeddable objects.
Embedded plugin objects
Browser plugins are small desktop applications integrated with a Web browser environment to provide additional functionality. Widgets powered by plug-ins operate within a specific area of a page, defined by the embedded object or object elements.
Blog plug-ins are considered as an integrated part of each blog. They are executed on the server and are delivered as a single HTML file to a blog viewer’s browser.
Widgets within frame content do not have direct access to the full content of the parent page or its user data. They connect the contents and preferences of a main page with the framed widget content.