was a conference targeting software developers, according to the website it was centered around 「the emerging widget economy」
... Well, whatevah. At least it was very interesting and stimulating to listen to and talk to some pretty cool people.the watchamacallits
There seems to be a lot of confusion about what widgets are, and what they should be called (they're mostly called widgets or gadgets though). Some widgets (Dashboard, MS Gadgets, Opera Widgets) are developed using web (two point zero) technology, while a whole bunch are developed using Flash - such as SpringWidgets
, which is where I'd put my ￥１０ - or some other non-standard technology (such as Yahoo! Widgets).
Some widgets run on the desktop - Dashboard, Opera, Yahoo! - and some run in web pages - Widgetbox, myspace widgets, etc - and some run on both the desktop and in web pages - MS Gadgets, SpringWidgets, etc.pwnd?
Who's gonna win this race? Well, Microsoft of course. Once the Vista Sidebar and the widget engine is virally installed on all XP systems (which it will be according to the MS Live person at the conference) that's what everyone's gonna run. I also think SpringWidgets will do good, since they seem to offer the most interesting experience for the user, and they're focusing a lot on myspace, where I guess the money is.Opera Widgets
then... I don't think that's a big hit for desktop, especially after the above-mentioned viral MS Gadgets push when everyone will already have a widget engine running on their machine. And as with a great deal of Opera technology, widgets look doomed to remain in beta quality forever. On mobile and tv boxes and stuff where Opera is already in the lead of course Opera is in a great position to deliver widgets as well. And it would be great if it was possible to deploy them on my.opera...how do opera widgets win teh interweb?
- Fix bugs (before adding new features - hi Joel! - why is that so hard to get?)
- Fix widgets.opera.com
- Make a special Opera Widgets program that runs in the background, like Yahoo! Widgets and not like a web browser※
- Interfacing with my.opera account; store data on server, share data with your friends - hello! why wasn't that included from the beginning?!
- Make them deployable to web pages, especially my.opera
- Transfer hefa to work on them, or better yet put him in charge of the whole operation
- And please speed up the canvas
- Marketing! Send hefa to more conferences (only in warm places)
Is it that simple? Yes it is that simple. While it won't happen, I'm sure widgets are here to stay, in the form of Dashboard widgets and MS Gadgets, with us for a significant while in computing history, even though they seem like a bubble thing right now ("emerging widget economy" and all).
But think about it: Dashboard on Mac, MS Gadgets on Windows, whatever open source clone on Linux - all delivering simple and fun small applications using the same technology on all platforms
! Small differences in packaging and system calls and UI norms aside - nothing a few #ifdef
s and a decent home-brew tool chain won't fix - it's a world first I'd say! (no, nobody runs java on the desktop, because it's slow and horrible and sucks.) I look forward to coding some great stuff for this future platform of ours! It'll be instupituous... Please note that, while I work for Opera Software, my humble and ungraceful duties are completely unrelated to Opera Widgets, even though I develop some on my spare time for fun, so my speculations and opinions here are pulled out of my arse, in real time, and if there's any correlation to any strategy going on from my employer's part, it is completely coincidental and unknown to me.
※(Actually I'm quite certain it's possible to start a new company specializing only on developing and selling the Opera widget engine.)