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This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies. Posted in: Widget Central

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mjgrothaus



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 28

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 - 5:12 pm    Post subject: deleted Reply with quote

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kingmob



Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 68
Location: Vienna

Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 - 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

launcher widgets adhere to the apple interface guidelines, since a widget that also displays the info you want mostly ends up taking a lot of space on your screen.

a possible solution for this would be using popup-style widgets like apple's weather widget, but i don't think it's necessary.
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sean



Joined: 22 Apr 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Duluth, MN

Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 - 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: Launcher widgets suck Reply with quote

mjgrothaus wrote:
Is it just me or do launcher widgets annoy ofther people too? Why have a google search widget it all it does is launch safari and take you to google page with your findings?

There's a ton of launcher widgets and they are all dissapointing....

I'm just *****ing, but feel free to add your comments!

[moderator note: watch your language]


Yeah, I'm not a big fan. If I want to open a particular site in safari and search for something, I'll just.... open it in safari and search for something. Safari's always open anyway. I have yet to find a launcher widget that's worth a damn (no offense to the guys making them...)
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Lutz



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 19
Location: Sweden

Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 - 12:09 pm    Post subject: The sollution is really simple... Reply with quote

Just don't download them!

launcher widgets is usually made by newbies that want to make something, it's a way to start learning dashboard, don't see any reason to be annoyed by something you don't have to download...
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kingmob



Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 68
Location: Vienna

Posted: Fri May 13, 2005 - 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to disagree here. Sure, it's easier to write a launcher widget than one that grabs and displays web content inside itself, but most of those break the design guidelines by ending up way too large to be useful.

As an example for a good launcher widget, I'd pick Flidget, the Flickr widget. It allows you to upload and tag an image easily to Flickr, then opens the upload page in Safari to let you set a comment, privacy settings and so on.
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bobx2001



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 6
Location: London

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 - 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i too highly dislike these launcher widgets. i agree with the point that someone made about them being easier to make (i am self made a attempt at making a widget that failed). but i do not visit this site to see individual peoples coding skill. i come here to download some widgets.

i think this site should open a separate showcase for developers, basically a place of beginner to post their widgets and a place of widgets with bugs to be posted. that way the main showcase can concentrate on the more developed and useful widget.
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mjgrothaus



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 28

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 - 6:29 pm    Post subject: I agree Reply with quote

bobx2001 wrote:
i too highly dislike these launcher widgets. i agree with the point that someone made about them being easier to make (i am self made a attempt at making a widget that failed). but i do not visit this site to see individual peoples coding skill. i come here to download some widgets.

i think this site should open a separate showcase for developers, basically a place of beginner to post their widgets and a place of widgets with bugs to be posted. that way the main showcase can concentrate on the more developed and useful widget.


I TOTALLY AGREE!!!
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kingmob



Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 68
Location: Vienna

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 - 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd ask everyone to read Apple's Design guidelines on widgets before crying about how annoy Apple recommends, right after "One widget for one task" is to keep the size of the widgets as small as possible. Content-loading widgets are per definition larger than launcher widgets. Sure, often it's more convinient to see the data in the window where you requested it, but there are other reasons.

Just as an example, when I made VORRP, I originally planned to load the content from the website and display it in the widget. However, during the creation, I dropped this idea and went for a launcher. Why?

1.) The widget just became too large. It's not meant as a major info display like the Wikipedia widget, so there's no reason it should take up more space than needed for two input lines and a button.

2.) Many people who use this (and probably other) route planner(s) want to print out the route for easy reference on the go. You can't print from a widget. Well, yes, you can, but you'd have to leave the widget for that, so it pretty much breaks the idea.

3.) As stated by Apple (And what other guildeline do we have?), widgets aren't programs - they are small tools that help do repetitive or often-needed tasks, or give access to specific info quick and painless.

Furthermore, regarding the sound of this discussion, besides, sean, who made the excellent (but too large for my taste Wink) wikipedia widget, no one uploaded a widget to DW so far, so if you don't like something, take it, improve it - most of the stuff here is licensed under the GPL, CC or a similar license anyway.

This isn't the open source community where people jump at every user's wish, nor is it the open market where you pay something to get something. Those widgets are made by people who feel they are useful, and shared with others so they don't have to write it themselves. So don't go around telling the world how bad this stuff is - take it, leave it or make something better, or better suited to your needs and wishes.

Sorry for the long rant. What i want to say is, yes, there are many launcher widgets that would benefit from a in-widget display, but it's not always the best solution. Don't just assume that people who write launcher widgets are lazy or incompetent.
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bobx2001



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 6
Location: London

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 - 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kingmob maybe in the case of your widget making it a launcher may have been a good idea. i cannot sat that ALL launcher widgets are useless but certain widgets should be displaying results in the widget it self.

firstly if a widget is showing requested information in the dashboard it self it does not mean that the size of it will become massive and unmanageable. just take a look at the dictionary/thesaurus widget and the yellow pages widget. both widget have small footprints in the dashboard and they only increase in size once you have requested results then they return to their normal size once you have read the content.

regarding the forum. a forum is a place of discussion, where opinions are said and discussed. developers of widgets will appreciate comments on their creations (as long as they are constructive comments, that is for both positive and negative comments).

maybe the original poster didn't say the most constructive thing (and maybe should have reconsidered the language he used) but he still made a valid point.
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eaon



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Vienna

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 - 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a user, and hopefully soon widget-author, I'd like to see more widgets of both types.

I have a 12" PowerBook so my space is limited. Lots of big painful to use widgets don't help me with my daily life. But quickly accessible tasksets do.

Route planning with public transport systems for example, is very complex, it needs more than just 350x150 pixel space. What line to where and over and over again.

Showing information about a wireless accesspoint is not as complex, basically just a table (don't get me wrong: only *visually*). It certainly doesn't need as much space as the Air Traffic Control widget. I for one, would like this one to shrink shrink shrink.

Widgets are mostly for small repetetive tasks using a small-yet-necessary-but-not-more space. Keep this in mind.
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podcastshuffle



Joined: 10 Jun 2005
Posts: 1

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 - 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Launcher widgets suck Reply with quote

mjgrothaus wrote:
Is it just me or do launcher widgets annoy ofther people too? Why have a google search widget it all it does is launch safari and take you to google page with your findings?


I see this type of comment all over the reviews and have to agree. However as the owner of a 'launcher widget' :0 I have to say I would love to be able to convert my launcher widget to an "inline search & results" widget. However I haven't seen many easy examples to follow.

I know there are plenty of widgets that do the tasks that I want it to do (e.g. WikiPedia widget, Package Tracker, etc.) However when I show the package contents and dig into the JS file I am (usually on line 3 or 4) way over my head. The developers of these widgets obviously know their stuff and have created a very (at least to me) complex piece of software.

If there's a simple way to grab data from a search page, display it in the widget and continue browsing in the widget. I'd love to know. I don't need a lot of preferences and other wiz-band features. I'd just like to keep the user experience in the widget as long as possible.

If someone can help - let me know. Smile
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bbellina



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 - 4:39 pm    Post subject: Big picture please Reply with quote

Part of the beauty of widgets is that once more Apple has implemented a way for the masses to create software that runs on Apple machines. This legacy goes back to the beginnings of the company and has as its precursors Applesoft BASIC and Hypercard. It is exciting that so many people who know only a little HTML and Javascript are tackling widgets. The more people doing this the better for all Mac users. No one is forcing anyone to download their work, and for many fledgling developers just the ability to publish their work is enough to keep them honing their skills. The investment in time and resources to create a functional widget is small, so of course people who have never written anything before are going to do so. They should be commended and encouraged.

The openness of HTML, Javascript, and CSS make it easy for people to learn from each other. And yes, of course people will steal to varying degrees from one another as well. Authors should be flattered that their code is worth stealing, not defensive about it. The person who steals a bit of code today will be creating their own tomorrow. (I am not endorsing whole-sale code theft, but using a smart routine here and there is reasonable and improves the general code-base.)

The widget.openURL feature is good because it significantly reduces the knowledge necessary to attractively format output. Having content returned to a widget and then reformatted and displayed is far more complicated than posting a URL to a website that is already taking care of formatting the output for you. (Now if it just handled embedded pipe properly, but that is a different matter.) It is reasonable that initial versions of widgets use openURL. As the authors improve their skills they will probably consider returning content internally, and may in fact choose to invest the time needed in figuring out how best to do so.

It is encouraging to see development return to the hands of the Apple enthusiasts. For those of you who fail to appreciate the bigger picture, just don't download what you don't want.
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hackand



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 3

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 - 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As yet another owner of a launcher widget, I thought I'd add more functionality to the classic "search bar", for instance, my widget searches Apple Support, but instead of only doing a keyword search, it does a product+keyword (and in the near future +language) search from a list of over 20 products, making the task much more fast (i think) and accurate. I'm seriously planning on implementing a quick and space-savvy display of the first 5 results that should show up under the stick like the dictionary widget, if I figured out how to, I'm more of a designer and creative rather than a coder (even if I like coding, before I made this widget I didn't know how to handle a popup window using javascript–I still don't know), but I learn fast, or go with what seems logic, and after some minutes of frustration, I adapt "inspirational" code to my widget.
Well-designed widgets that display content on them are good, I can even remember Steve Jobs on a keynote manifesting his love for an amazon.com widget or something that displayed the search results inside the widget. If it took up serious space, like twice the weather widget expanded, that'd be wrong, but if the content was really pocket-sized, and I don't mean a small area for a lot of content, but a summarized quantity of results and a "More…" link, i think it's great, so now the only limitation we have to go ahead and do the display is the backend of the widget.
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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 - 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think to put it in the simplest way, there is a distinct function for launcher widgets, or there SHOULD be, anyway.

That is, the given is that if you end up doing the same actions as in Safari, you might as well use Safari to start with. Widgets should save time or be more efficient in a significant way.

So how might a launcher widget do that? Well, the most likely case I can think of is one that gives you just enough info to let you judge if you want to actually launch a website. I imagine it would be a lot like a Gmail widget showing you the number of new mail, and then taking you to your mail. You don't go if it says 0, obviously.

The line becomes blurred when it takes a lot of data to be shown before going to Safari. If anything, launcher widgets should simplify the source to the essential bits, as opposed to just replicating part of a site, e.g., a search bar.

<(++<)
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