Archive for October, 2007

Windows Live Gallery: Updates, Monetization and more to come

October 30th, 2007

Windows Live Gallery is a marketplace of content for users of the Windows Live Ecosystem and that includes of course the Windows Live Gadgets..

It deserves a more insightful post on it`s own but for the moment there is some notable news to tal about:

Updating and on the move

For some reason, Microsoft decided to leave the Live content marketplace as some of the things to get updates at the last moment while most of the Windows Live products have been updated.

The gallery is changing and morphing to be faster and offering a easy way to navigate the content offered in it, but it is in no way the last update it will recieve this year but it is nice to see that it is finally being updated and that must only mean one thing: more content to offer is surely to arrive into it and that also means more and better gadgets in it.

Monetization

A interesting development of the update is the introduction of the Microsoft Points Payment System that any Xbox Live and Zune Marketplace user knows very well. the MS points is Microsoft solution to micro payments and a global currency by allowing anyone in the world to buy something at the same  price in MS point not depending on the currency of the country the user is in and by allowing a electronic money wallet to manage those points so there is a sense of auto moderation.

The introduction of the MS points indicates that you will be able to buy premium content from the Gallery that will surely be priced at a very low range in what Bill Gates refered as a "micro purchase" where you could get to pay quantities that would not be possible to do by credit card because of the prohibitive transaction charges and that would even dare Paypal boundaries.

and then there is the reference of "stores" in the gallery so that mans that developers and contributors to the gallery can get revenue from their work thanks to that.

More to come*

Of the interesting things about what could be coming to the Live gallery in terms of gadgets comes as some rumours that i got a hold of and that given the source sounds very plausible:

1.-Gadgets getting the full atention, high spread and focus of the  gallery

of course, if you are gonna put some stuff to sell, you are gonna sell gadgets that can be placed anywhere in the Live Ecosystem, who is going to buy a pack of emoticons or backgrounds?

2.-Context Gadgets arriving to Live Messenger 9.0

there has always been the petition of WLM users for plugins and some limited development on that comes in the form of the WLM plus plugin but never something from the source. now it seems that WLM will nevr get plugins but they may get context gadgets thanks to a silverlight integration to the application. the reason for not allowing Plugins are security reasons because after the last report that there are now over 400 million Live ID`s and there are now over 320 million Live messenger users and that WLM is more targeted by exploits than Internet Explorer (that is getting more secured in XP in the IE7 version and is pretty much secured in Vista unless the user is the one that puts it at risk).. as some of the recent secrity threats found in WLM 8.1 were found and pretty much everyone is recommended to move to 8.5 to avoid any risk even with the recent patches

Context gadgets in WLM would really make a lot of inroads for Silverlight adoption and a great way to ignite the Live gallery so it does seem like a very possible future.

3.-Gadgets coming to Windows Mobile 7

the next windows mobile operative system right now code named "photon" it is to say that it got Silverlight integration from the let go and that comes with a sort of gadget launcher that seem to be translated version of live.com future gadgets.

also makes sense, i have seen several photon prototype apps and every single one of them were done in Silverligjt mobile so it may happen.

4.-A new refocused Live.com personal start page

As mentioned, it seems that Microsft wants live.com to become a user information bay and not only just a start page, a way to do that would be to have gadgets that provide information around the ecosystem and that works and look the same way, it would be a good way to get ahead of both igoogle and my.yahoo

5.-Gadget Export Gateway

This seems to be almost a done deal because i remember having heard/read a Microsft developer saying that next year any Windows Live Gadget could be usable anywhere.

the only easy way i see they could archive that would be by Silverlight unless they got a more complex development on that but i doubt that MS is going to spend money on converting gadgets to flash instead of Silverlight.

This exporting is something that you can already do thanks to popfly advances uses so i do know it can be done.

To conclude…

The Live gallery has to be the number one thing prety much overlooked until now, so it does remains a great opportunity for Microsoft to take advantage of and it is surely one of the things to look out for in terms of widgets.

Another good take on the update and monetization can be read at Liveside.net:

Windows Live Gallery gets update – Adds Microsoft Points for micropayments

Xbox Friend Watch: Silverlight Vista Sidebar Gadget

October 30th, 2007

Adam Kinney is a Microsoft Developer that works in community projects that initially made a Silverlight Vista Sidebar Gadget to follow his closest friends in Xbox Live while in the frenzy of playing Halo 3 so he could know when there could be a good match at hand to be had.

it worked so well that he decided to release it and now you can enjoy a very stylish Vista Gadget that will continue to be improved so you can track your closest five friends at xbox live, support for more friends along many things more are planed so it will be a gadget to watch for

 

If you want to know more in detail and see it work, you can also watch a video demo of it at Channel 9

For it to work just be sure to have Silverlight 1.0 installed.

Xbox Friends Watch: a Sidebar Gadget using Silverlight

*Update*:

If you already have moved to Silverlight 2 beta 1 and noted the gadget stopped working, well i got good news for you all, the gadget has been updated, you can find the update here:

Xbox Friends Watch – v1.2 (with silverlight 2 beta 1 support)

There is also a indication to resolve a possible resolution bug, so read Adam post.

Special thanks to Dovella for the heads up.

Facebook Badge for Windows Live Spaces

October 30th, 2007

Put a Facebook badge on your Windows Live Spaces site

Are you a Live Spaces User but also enjoy Facebook so you want that to show placing a Facebook badge in your Live Space finding the modular Widget (gadget) nature a little complicated?

Well, fear no more because Nic Fllingham decided that he wanted such thing and made a very easy to follow how-to so you can do the same thing in less than 5 minutes.

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How to add a Facebook badge to your Windows Live Spaces site

 

Widget basics from Niall Kennedy

October 29th, 2007

What to do when considering creating a widget

niall-kennedy-logo.jpg

Niall Kennedy, one of the leading authorities on widgets today, has written an excellent post regarding first steps in widget creation. This is very important for anyone that has widget aspirations. Many developers have the necessary skills to program these little wonders but they may lack some of the insight that comes from experience. This is where Niall’s post will come in handy.

Niall describes baby steps from the very beginning. Like considering a rest state for your widget (when it’s not doing anything) to custom user preferences. There is also consideration for data choices such as RSS info, XML and even plain text. He goes on to describe elements of the finished product and what to consider at this point.

Niall follows up with an insightful conclusion that could only come from someone that is passionate about widgets.

This is a must read for anyone considering widget creation and those already deep into widget development.

Widget Basics by Niall Kennedy

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