Tuesday, December 13, 2005

 

WebWar2.0 Continues with Yahoo Widgets


The following from Yahoo is a good overview of Yahoo Widgets

The Yahoo! Widget Engine (formerly known as Konfabulator) is a JavaScript runtime engine for Windows and Mac OS X that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to. Widgets can be alarm clocks, calculators, can tell you your WiFi signal strength, will fetch the latest stock quotes for your preferred symbols, and even give your current local weather.

What sets Yahoo! Widget Engine apart from other scripting applications is that it takes full advantage of today's advanced graphics. This allows Widgets to blend fluidly into your desktop without the constraints of traditional window borders. Toss in some sliding and fading, and these little guys are right at home in Windows XP and Mac OS X.

The format for these Widgets is completely open and easy to learn so creating your own Widgets is an extremely easy task.

For the "skinning" crowd, Yahoo! Widget Engine is a dream come true. You can easily change the look, feel, layout, even functionality of a Widget so that it matches your lifestyle, your desktop, or the pants or skirt you have on that day.

A Little History...
Some time in early 2000 Arlo Rose came up with an idea for a cool little application. It would use XML to structure images, and a scriptable language, like Perl, in such a way that someone who knew the basics of Perl could put together cool little mini-applications. The goal was that these mini-applications would just sit around on your desktop looking pretty, while providing useful feedback.

All he ever really wanted was to have a cool looking battery monitor and something that told him the weather, but he knew the possibilities for something like this could potentially be limitless.

Fast forward a couple of years when Arlo began working with Perry Clarke at Sun Microsystems. Over lunch one afternoon Arlo gave Perry the basics of this dream app. Perry suggested that JavaScript would be far easier for people to digest. He was right. It's the basis for Flash's ActionScript, and Adobe's scripting engine for Photoshop. Of all the choices, JavaScript made the most sense. Shortly after that lunch, the two began to spend their nights and weekends making this thing a reality.



It looks a lot like Apple Dashboard and Google desktop. Clearly it is a complementary offering on operating systems (WindowsXP and Macintosh OS) but increasingly taking over important parts of the operating system. Making it cross-platform across Windows and Mac, Yahoo is seeking to be the bridge (platform agnostic) and competing against Google.

WebWar 2.0 continues..

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