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Microsoft Gadgets at PDC!

September 14th, 2005 by Patrick S

(Another big’ish post…)
I have been waiting for something like this for ages!,

“Microsoft announced at PDC today that it is getting into the “gadget” business putting it in direct competition from a feature stand point with Apple’s Dashboard and Yahoo’s Widgets (Konfabulator).”

If you have ever used Mac OS X you will know what I am talking about. If you hove not. These little “widget thinggys” are simple but ‘oh so usefu’l desktop aplications (E.g See fuel prices right on you desktop [I want that one], RSS headlines, world times, the latest news as it happens-anything!)
If you dont follow what I mean this quote from the Gadgets website may help…

“What are Gadgets? Gadgets are a new category of mini-application designed to provide information, useful lookup, or enhance an application or service on your Windows PC or the Web. Examples might include a weather gadget running on your desktop or on your homepage, an RSS Gadget that pulls in your favorite feeds, or an extension of a business application providing just-in-time status on the pulse of your business.

Gadgets come in three flavors:

  • Gadgets for Windows Sidebar will run on your desktop or dock into Windows Sidebar, an upcoming feature in Windows Vista alongside other applications. Desktop Gadgets can developed using Windows Presentation Foundation, DHTML/Atlas, and even ActiveX controls. The beauty of Desktop Gadgets is that they are visually and programmatically rich – scaling from vector-based graphics and managed code to standard techniques you’d use for the Web. You’ll be hearing more about Windows Sidebar over the coming months here as we approach release around Beta 2 of Windows Vista.
  • Gadgets for Start.com (a.k.a. Web or Server-based Gadgets) provide a fast, customizable homepage with a clean user interface – putting the user in control of more of their online experience. Currently in incubation/public preview, Start.com is a place where consumers can customize the web to their liking by adding their own sources of content including RSS web-feeds and web-based Gadgets that extend functionality of their site- anything from custom calendars to service integration. Start.com demonstrates the use of DHTML and ASP.Net Atlas, which separates the data from the UI resulting in significant performance improvements. In addition, Start.com Gadgets can easily support docking into the Windows Sidebar.
  • Gadgets for Windows SideShow(tm) (a.k.a. Auxilary Display Gadgets) allow users to view their information on devices. Users can view their data where they want it, whether it is for instant access on the lid of a laptop PC, for notifications on a keyboard display or for convenience on a detached device like a cell phone. Gadgets for Windows SideShow run on the PC and use COM interfaces to send data to devices. This Windows SideShow platform combined with the power of desktop applications allows for new scenarios and opportunities”
  • Up till now, the only way to make gadgets on Windows was using Stardock’s (which is where my day job is) DesktopX Pro. Like DesktopX Pro’s gadgets, Microsoft’s gadgets can be embedded in other applications. For instance, just as DesktopX Pro gadgets can be put into RightClick and ObjectBar, Microsoft’s gadgets can be embedded into the recently reincarted Desktop Sidebar which is expected to ship with Windows Vista.

    The Gadgets site officially goes live on Tuesday next week. It will be designed for creators to sell(boooooo 🙁 ) or give away (yaaaaaay 🙂 ) their works of art.
    I hope there are some awesome ones being givin away (the ones on the blog look sweet!)

    They are soo cool and cant wait for them (when vista goes final) Ingenius…

    More as it comes…

    Source:Microsoft Gadgets Blog
    Also see more at Sean Alexander’s Blog
    A screen shot of Gadgets in action-HERE


    *cough*screen shot is Vista Beta 2*cough*

    Posted in MS News | 2 Comments »


    This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 at 5:54 am and is filed under MS News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


    2 Responses

    1. Jabez Gan Says:

      Hmm… actually the screenshot is from Beta 2 branch, but not Beta 2… 😛

    2. Patrick S Says:

      Ahh wicked 🙂