Archive for December, 2008

iGoogle Fidelity Secure Gadget

December 30th, 2008


One of the common slaps to widgets. is people that say there are no serious widgets or productive widgets. something that has been nonsense for over a year. even then, if more proof is needed. how about a Financials Account Gateway in a widget?.

That is what Fidelity Secure Gadget for iGoogle is.  a way to check your fidelity financials data right from your iGoogle can choose it as a standalone compact  Gadget or as a iGoogle Gadget Tab.

The latter is only if you feel the need of more info and options. but if you just want a easy way to keep up with your Fidelity account. then the compact version should be more than enough.

This is a good step for widgets and something that has been happening during for 2008. but the Fidelity Gadget has been the one without issues so far. a good preview to more of these widgets to come. more with the 2009 Economic Doom and Gloom we have to brace with. so expect to be able to have all your financial data at your grasp thanks to widgets. either in the desktop, the browser or your mobile.

Fidelity Secure Gadget

How to build a widget – Creating the widget

December 26th, 2008

[Part 3 in a 5 part series titled “How to build a widget]

You thought of an idea.  You chose the tech.  Now it is time to get busy.

Part 3) – Creating the widget. 

Widgets are self contained mini-websites and have to be treated the same way you would go about creating a website. 

[Quick definitions:  The “widget user” refers to the person grabbing the widget, while the “page visitor” refers to the person viewing the widget on the widget user’s page/blog] 

First, determine if the widget will be static or dynamic.

Static widgets are widgets that are exactly the same for every widget user that grabs the widget code.  An election countdown widget would be an example of a static widget.  The widget developer (you) only has to create the desired effect and code it without relying on any dynamic data. 

Dynamic widgets are widgets that change for each widget user embedding the code. is an example of a dynamic widget.  The widget user is each assigned a unique ID that is rendered to the object tag at the time of the web page is served.  The widget then uses the ID to pull data from a web service to determine the widget user’s Virtual Gift list.

Static widgets are normally less complicated and can be deployed without much complication.  Dynamic widgets require external sources supporting and possibly storing data for the widget.

Whichever widget type you choose is entirely up to you.  There have been extremely succesfull widgets that are static:  Maukie the virtual cat and dynamic:  RateItAll

Maukie the virtual cat

Maukie the virtual cat

Second,  allow customization.

Someones blog or Myspace page is an expression of themselves.  Why would they want to install your ugly neon pink widget on their green background Myspace page?  Give widget users the ability to customize the size/shape/skin/wording of your widget.  Page visitors do not want to have your widget stand out (in a bad way) on the widget users page.  Give the widget users the option to allow the widget to blend into the look and feel of their site.

Finally,  make your widget friendly to the widget’s users page/blog.  This means make it small and available. 

Nobody wants to install a widget on their blog that is 2.3 megs.  This will kill the experience for the page visitor.  Generally try to make your widget size under 100K.  Also make sure you host your widget on a respectable server.  Your widget is going to be served up every time the widget user’s page is served.  This is orders of magnitude more times then if you were just hosting a web site on your server.  If a widget user installs your widget and gets 3k hits a day on their site, then the widget has to be able to be served up 3k times without any slowdown (plus support all of the other widget users).     

Next – Part 4 - Deploying the widget.

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

Merry Christmas From Widgets Lab

December 24th, 2008


I wanted to take a little time as always. to send you my regards in representation of Widgets Lab to all of you that do us the favor of reading us. Thank you and i hope you have a great Christmas Eve and even better time with family or friends.

Merry Christmas to all.

Chumby Quake

December 22nd, 2008


Quake is being ported to everything nowadays. but how about it getting ported to Chumby. usualy used to serve up Widgets to you. While Chumby Widgets On Demand Appliance concept is already something neat. having it serve up Video Games is quite a novelty within a novelty.

But that is exactly what it has happened and you can get it in your chumby if you have one in a very easy way. just had over to the Chumby Forum thread where this magic was unveiled.

Chumby Quake

via Engadget (there is also a video of it in action there)

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