W3C Widgets 1.0 Requirements

July 10th, 2007 by Avatar X Leave a reply »


There has been a constant discussion about the need of standards when it comes to widgets from quite a long time now, and the ones doing the discussion have been waiting for the W3C to React, the W3C first reaction to reach the goal of a set of standards started in early 2007, and they just now have updated their document with the latest draft.

The documents goes into details on the how a widget should be built, work and what it is expected from a widget in all configurations of what a widget is.

That document can be found in here:

Widgets 1.0 Requirements

One of the things that are not clearly stated in the document since it only refers on the How of things is Minimum Look Customization Requirements for Widgets since i find that there just too much ugly widgets out there to bare with, and having such options by default would do all of us a favor.

What i mean, is that widgets should allow a minimum of user customization in their terms of the look, and that don`t mean messing with the original design or aesthetics of the widgets but what i propose that should be at least suggested to be a standard is

1.-Adjustable Size or 3 Differently sized versions, what applies best case by case.
2.-A color palette if applicable.

Having those two things alone as a standard would do wonders for everyone.

Because is all about been able to Blend in tour Favorite Widgets into you personal spaces, be it your phone, in you Blog/profile/Start Page and in your desktop.

Everything in favor of those widgets retain the feel of their vendor and brand, but that can be adapted a little to the taste of the user.

The Widgets 1.0 Requirements Document is the right start, and giving the pace of the document, i think that a Final version of the document should be released this year at most.

And with it, only better things can be expected from widgets, if not demanded.

Update: I have edited the post to the Minimum customization Requirements Point clearer, Thanks Marcos


  1. Hi Avatar, I’m the editor of the widget req spec. I’m glad to hear that you think the spec is going in the right direction, but I’m a little confused as to what you mean by a Minimum Look Customization Requirements?

    If you mean that we should specify a base look and feel for widgets, then I’m not sure if that is such a good idea. Firstly, widget vendors already provide aesthetic guidelines for widgets that developers should follow, and each vendor has it’s on set of requirements (see in particular apple’s, microsoft’s, and Yahoo!’s guidelines for widget development). Also, aesthetic models continuously change and new ones emerge (eg. the new iPhone aesthetic). I don’t think it should be the w3c’s place to tell designers or widget vendors what widgets should look like, but, instead, instead, the w3c should specify the tools developers need to create awesome looking/functioning widgets.

  2. Avatar says:

    First of all, Thanks for stopping by Marcos, i welcome your visit with a “Hola, como estas?”.

    Now, what i mean for minimum customization requirements, don`t really has to do with the design and the proper aesthetic of the widgers per se, what i mean is having a minimum set of options for the widgets,and can be very much resumed to 2 simple things:

    Broad Adjustable size and Color palette.

    And those are for the simple reason that, with those 2 things as a standard, it would be very easy to make a widget Blend with anything.

    But, i will edit the post to clarify what i meant with that part.

    Once again, thanks for stopping by.

    P.S:, when do you think the Final draft will be done?, i was right with “this year” ?

  3. I’m sorry Avatar, I’m still not fully understanding what you mean:( However, what you are hinting at is interesting and I would really like to hear more. Once you write up some use cases please email me so we can continue to discuss this.

    From what I understand from above you are asking for (1) a widget render context (window) to be able to dynamically grow its width and height? And (2) some kind of base color palette?

    In case I’ve understood 1 correctly, this should already be allowed by the spec. In the case of 2, every device displays color differently and I’m not sure that having a color palette would be much help to creating widgets that blend well with their surroundings.

    Mobile phone screens are able to display more and more colors every year (eg. the iPhone)
    For example, most modern phones can reproduce 65,000, LG’s Prada can do 256,000 colors, and Nokia’s N95 can reproduce 16.7 million colors, i think. The DPI of screens is also rapidly increasing (eg. iPhone’s 160 dpi), which poses further problems for developers. The w3c has quite a few activities looking at how to overcome these problems, particularly the the Ubiquitous and Mobile Web initiatives and the Device Independence Working Group and CSS Working Group.

    Also, color theory states that colors appear as they do because of the colors they have next to them. So people could mix whatever palette you give them and still create a design that does not work well (especially if you can control what color sits next to the widget).

    Regarding time frame: the iPhone brought a bit of seismic shift to mobile widgets, and so has the rapid emergence of the mobile widgets market over the last 6 months. We are investigating the mobility issues right now. However, we hope to have this all wrapped up by sometime in between 2008-2009.

  4. Avatar says:

    I think you have understood correctly what i meant, and you have put into more technical terms, but i think it still can be done, the only question is the how to justificate putting it as a standard, and in what measure of course.

    Abut the e-mails, sure, i will follow your blog and will think in how to expose things better and also thing of more specific case of use you can work with.

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