Friday, November 16, 2007

Would ya try a widget?

Widgets (pronounced WIH-jits) are being integrated into web pages and social networking sites at such an alarming rate that 2007 has been referred to as the year of the widget in a Newsweek article (December 22 2006). Richard MacManus, in a similar article refers to widgets as the new black. Widgets, quite simply, are chucks of programming code which can be easily dragged onto a desktop or pasted into a personal web page, where they can be constantly updated with whatever information you want. These mini-applications are also known as modules, gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini, flakes and plug-ins.

Many bloggers (Blogger, WordPress) and social network users (FaceBook and MySpace) are now enhancing their blogs, or web space with these easy to use applications. They are relatively easy to download and add to your personal page, because the user does not need to know the mark up language (HTML) or programming language (JavaScript or Flash) used to develop the code. In most instances, the coding is created automatically, and all the user has to do on his/her end is to cut and paste the required information into their blog or web page. For example, widgets included on a personal blog or Facebook page would allow a visitor to listen to a song when the page is loaded; automatically listen to an audio message; view the word of the day (English or Spanish); view photos as a slideshow, check an online calendar, or view the latest weather report.

The usefulness and portability of widgets have not gone unnoticed by online content providers. Web portals like Google and Yahoo! offer customizable pages to their users. Mainstream media houses like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and ESPN have begun allowing users to design the page they see when they log on., the photo-sharing site, lets its members create a “badge” that they can post on their blogs and personal home pages to let friends know when they’ve uploaded new snapshots.

Where can you find widgets?

Here are links to 2 easily downloadable widgets. To include the coding in your web page or blog, simply follow the instructions for copying and pasting the chunk of code automatically generated.

  1. Word of the day Flash widget
  2. Searchbox (Click on link Put WorldCat Search Box on Your Site for directions on generating the html code to include in your blog or website) -

Have some fun would ya, try a widget!!