May 8th, 2007
You’ve got a lot to say, and we like to hear it (most of the time). So, we’ve decided to take the conversation to meatspace by opening up Widgets HQ to a limited number of Widget authors for our first ever Konfabulator Developer Day.
Join us for a day of food, fun, and Widgety goodness (not to mention a viewing of Rob’s spoon) on the Yahoo! campus in scenic Sunnyvale, CA. In addition to the pure pleasure of hanging out with the Widgets team and your fellow Widget authors, the day will be filled with interactive chats on everything related to the world of Widgets.
Attendees will get free Widgets shwag (most important) and an inside look into:
- The Konfabulator architecture, API and a preview of some new features on the way
- Widget tips & tricks, and examples of cool widgets
- Ways you can promote your Widgets to the world, and possibly make money
Come ready to talk about your Widgets and have fun.
Date: Thursday 7 June 2007 (with optional Friday AM “office hours” to get one-on-one time with our team)
Location: Yahoo! HQ (701 First Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94089)
Sign Up is Now Open Limited Seats Available!
- Be one of the first 20 people to RSVP to the event on Upcoming. Using your Yahoo!/Upcoming account, say that you’re “attending” the event.
- We’ll send you an email within the next week that will include travel recommendations and confirmation instructions.
- To those who confirm, we’ll then send info on logisitcs and agenda (as well as a fun survey to help us make the day just right)
We can’t wait to meet you and hear your feedback to help us guide the future of Konfabulator!
March 22nd, 2007
Yes! Yahoo Widgets 4 is now available for download. This version has a lot of cool new features for users as well as developers of Widgets.
For those that think we’ve been sitting around drinking tequila and not really focusing on Konfabulator/Yahoo Widgets, today’s the day we show you what we’ve really been up to for these past months. Well, we’ve been drinking some tequila too, but let’s stay focused, shall we? What?!
Note, by the way, that our new release is called simply Yahoo! Widgets. No more ‘Engine’. It was too much of a pain to say, quite frankly. Not to mention users don’t care about engines, they care about Widgets. Developers might care about the engine, which is why as of this release we are once again calling the core engine Konfabulator! Why not? Everyone still calls it that both inside and outside of Yahoo!, anyway.
And now, without any further ado, let’s get into all the awesomeness we’ve added in this release.
March 13th, 2007
As mentioned in my last post, we’ve started out countdown to Yahoo! Widgets 4!
We’ve spent the past 10+ months working on this release. During this time we’ve increased the size of our team (the proof is in our About Box) and spent a good amount of energy trying to figure out how to best serve our customers and developers in this increasingly competitive space.
While most of our changes are under the hood, we’ve also got some great new user-visible features coming as well. We’ve also simplified a lot of our user interface based on user testing, etc. And we’ve made it easier than ever to get new Widgets into your collection.
We’ve decided that this release deserves a proper countdown, Konfabulator-style. This time, we give you a glimpse behind the scenes at Widgets HQ. Each day there’ll be some new clue as to what’s coming in our ‘Conference’ cam shot on our Whiteboard.
We think both users and Widget developers will be very pleased with what we’ve done this time around. And we’re not done yet. We still have a long list of things we’re about to start on for our next release. But first thing’s first: Yahoo Widgets 4!
March 12th, 2007
You know, we’ve been a bit lax these past couple of release, what with no countdown and all… time to change that. The clock is ticking…
January 29th, 2007
The world of Widgets has changed a lot since Konfabulator came along back in 2003, when it was the only option of its kind for developers. Since then, similar offerings have emerged from several places, including Apple, and tomorrow, Microsoft as part of Vista. It has grown to such a point that Newsweek is proclaiming 2007 as the Year of the Widget.
Speaking of Vista, I should point out that our current release (Yahoo! Widget Engine 3.1) runs very well on it. That means you have over 3,700 Yahoo! Widgets ready and waiting to be unleashed on Vista tomorrow. But I digress�
Arlo and Perry created Konfabulator because they wanted to build cool stuff but found the available options lacking. Ever since, our product roadmap has been driven primarily by the needs of our Widget developers — trying to give them the tools to create compelling experiences. And with all the new options available, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a Widget developer. But, it’s also a more complicated world than when we were the only choice. So in the spirit that has always driven Konfabulator — helping developers build cool stuff, here’s our (pretty darned candid) view of the landscape and some advice on choosing the solution that best meets your needs.
So, which Widget platform should you use?.
The simple answer to that question is “it depends”.
What are you trying to accomplish? How much (or little) power do you need? Will it be a web-only Widget, or will it run on the desktop? Do you have existing code you want (or need) to reuse? All of these factors can influence your decision.
First, let’s address web Widgets
There are two major categories of Widgets: web Widgets and desktop Widgets. Web Widgets run inside a web page and are also known as “modules” or “badges”. Web Widgets allow anyone to create their own website “mash-ups” by embedding content from one site into a page on another site. These types of Widgets are completely based on browser technologies — HTML, Flash, etc. And while they have been around in various forms for a while, the use of the term “Widget” to refer to these web page modules is relatively new. Widget has (at least since Konfabulator’s introduction) conventionally meant a desktop-based mini-application that shows discrete information, often connected to the Internet. And, it is these types of Widgets that I want to delve into more today. So, if what you want to create is something that can be embedded in a personalized homepage, profile or blog, then you can probably stop reading now.
Why choose a desktop Widget?
The advantages of a desktop Widget over a web Widget include:
- Lives outside of the browser
- Access to local resources
- Potential for offline use & background downloading
- Greater interaction with the rest of the system through standard desktop interaction.
Desktop Widgets blur the line between the web and the desktop by pulling the content out of the browser and integrating it into your desktop.
Within the world of desktop Widgets there are several choices.
- Apple Dashboard
- Microsoft Windows Vista Sidebar
- Google Desktop Gadgets
- Yahoo! Widgets (Konfabulator)
(There are also some less mainstream desktop options and some emerging solutions that are attempting to bridge desktop and web. But for the sake of not making this a novel, I’m going to stick to the top four in this post.)
Apple and Microsoft each took the approach of using their native web browsers to implement their Widget environments. Google’s Desktop gadgets and Yahoo! Widgets use their own proprietary XML formats and rendering engines. Each approach has its pros and cons, so let’s take a quick look at both.