How to build a widget

December 2nd, 2008 by Tom Sprows Leave a reply »

Widgets have been around for almost as long as the internet became known as the World Wide Web. According to definition, a web widget is “a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML based web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation ”
But you want to make a widget.  It is very easy to virally grab a widget and put it on your MySpace page.  But how do you create the next-greatest widget?
This Blog post is the first in a 5 part series in giving a generic instruction on how to build a widget. 


1) Think of a good idea. 

You want to create something people would be proud to place on their blog or social page.  What can you make that enhances someone’s web page?  You also need to make something that the blog/social site owner can not easily create themselves.  You also want to make it worthwhile for the blog/social site owner to waste precious screen real estate space.
I took a stab and came up with a list of 5 categories of widgets: 

— Informational:  RSS readers, clocks, countdowns, stock ticker, etc.
— Games:  classic arcade, simplistic sports, arade bowling, etc.
— Utility:  geolocation, visitor statistics, etc
— Silly: Penut Butter Jelly Time  Nuff said.
— Interactive: chat based, message ability, user content, sliders, etc.

The best bet is to think of an idea that would set your widget apart in one of the above categories. 
An example I will use through out this 5 part series is the last widget I developed:  a Virtual gift widget  I saw that on closed application platforms such as Facebook the concept of being able to send a virtual gift was pretty popular.  I thought this would be cool to implement as a generic widget. falls into the interactive category.   Is this a good idea?  Sometimes only time will tell if your widget will be adopted and go viral.

Next – Part 2 – Choose the technology.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


  1. Avatar says:

    Good first post Tom. welcome to Widgets Lab and great to have your Guest Posts Stint.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Avatar. Good to be here.

  3. adilatudung says:

    hii…i have been follow your blog….Let’s turn you touch and follow my blogg….thanks..:P

  4. Yeah i making widgets now and found that some dont work in the we site for some widgets that i made for nothing


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