Today we had a very interesting meeting in the office and we were discussing about the future of our e-learning portal. But one of the topics we were discussing was about the great "Gadgets" or "Widgets". So what are they?
To explain I need to introduce an additional concept: RSS 2.0
RSS is a technology that enables people to subscribe to "feeds" of information (RSS Feeds) in order to receive notifications or updates when new content is available. The wonderful thing of this technology is that one person can subscribe to unlimited RSS feeds and see the "new" contents in one place. So it is not needed anymore to go to several web sites to find if there is something new... The new contents are presented in the client computer within an application or program called "RSS reader".
Gadgets or Widgets use RSS technology to transfer information to small programs that perform one specific task. For example can show the weather, a calendar, stock prices, even track flights.
It is possible to create gadgets from anything that a web site can offer on the internet: pictures, a catalog of new products, news, lottery results, anything that you or your company are offering to the market. Even can show Blog entries! So they are a great way of making easier for your web site visitors (audience) to find information you can provide.
The new Windows Vista (to come on the first part of the 2007), Mac OS X and even some browsers like Opera supports widgets or gadgets:
- How to build gadgets for Microsoft technologies and services?http://microsoftgadgets.com/Build/
- How to build widgets for Mac OS X? http://developer.apple.com/macosx/dashboard.html
- How to build widgets for Opera? http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/
If you would like to see some widget samples: