Widget factory

A few students in the Online Community class asked what widgets are, so here’s a partial answer and a few examples.

This blog is powered by WordPress, which defines a widget as “a self-contained piece of code that you can move into, out of and anywhere inside your sidebar. You can use to personalize your blog and deliver information you want.” But widgets also are used by Web sites in general and news sites, specifically. As I mentioned in class, one of the most common type of widget is one that provides real-time weather information. I also mentioned the Mac’s many widget options.

The Morning Call newspaper in Pennsylvania recently added a widget that allows users to search for detailed information on kennels and breeders, a widget the paper offers to anyone for incorporation into their sites and blogs. So I could add the widget and you could use my blog to search on and for specific kennels, using the Morning Call’s extensive database to help you determine the good from the potentially criminal.

As you can probably guess, there are blogs devoted to finding and reviewing widgets, including  the blog SexyWidget.

Do you want a widget? Lots of places to go to get one, including WidgetBox: directory and syndication platform for web widgets for blogs and other web pages, including MySpace pages.

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4 Responses to Widget factory

  1. James says:

    I think widgets are an incredibly useful tools for websites, social networks, and blogs alike. Despite their usefulness, widgets don’t seem to get a lot of use. I think that people have a phobia of widgets and prefer to stick with standard web pages with text, pictures and videos for now. If a web page has too many widgets, it will look way too busy and may cause an “information overload”. I looked through the widgetbox directory and found completely useless and random widgets, like sudoku puzzles and even a digital fish tank, that would drive me away from a page instantly. I believe strongly that web pages shouldn’t have extra information just because it will fit. As long as widgets are used responsibly, they could really add to the usefulness of a website.

  2. Tametria says:

    After reading your post on the Widget Factory, what immediately came to mind was Identification, Convenience, and Scalability. And the quote from Apple’s website confirms that.

    (Copied for Apple’s Website)
    “About EngageMe Activity Widget
    Helps you build and share the ultimate interests profile. With it you can discover people, websites, and information that match your interests.

    The EngageMe activity widget keeps track of changes related to your profile. You will be notified when buddies send you a message, comment on your blog, or add interests to their profile. Select only the update types that you care about!”

    For news organizations (such as the Morning Call newspaper), because widgets will provide information that readers specially want, widgets are a plus, or can be seen as beneficial.

    I don’t feel widgets are something I need to have. It would be just be something extra to check and more clutter to sift through. But for those who are myspace and facebook fans, it might catch on, particularly since you get updated information about your profiles (according to Apple’s spin on widgets)

    But is it really useful? That is a good question. But the idea is interesting and I would like to see what develops in the future.

  3. Andy B. says:

    Widgets are the ultimate gimme bits of information at my fingertips so I can sift through my wigdets to find what I need. When I think of widgets, I include everything from Mac’s version of Sudoku and Weather, to small things like RSS feeds where you can pick up the top 5 or so important news item of the day, all delivered to one place. Google’s personalized homepage option gives users ultimate control over the information they want to see as soon as you log on. On there you can put your weather information for more than 1 zipcode/city, a calendar to expand, you can view your Gmail inbox, get RSS feeds from anywhere or even have simple java or flash games. Widgets are the new thing which I see a lot of potential in. Microsoft has even picked up on the idea with the Vista dashboard (or whatever it’s called). I have a feeling you will see widgets as a growing medium for information delivery.

  4. Jakob says:

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title Wandering Rocks. Thanks for informative article

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