Welcome to the Gadgets Blog!
Have you ever wondered how new technologies get developed in Microsoft? Wonder how a cool idea goes from incubation to release? Well, were excited to announce that weve started a blog designed to bring you closer to the process with the Gadgets blog and were kicking it off at the PDC.
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 youd use for the Web. Youll 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.
Were super-excited to be able to talk directly with you on this blog. A number of us have already been blogging individually (links on the right). Be sure to check out the developer resources on the right. Go ahead- dont be shy- start building your own Web-based Gadgets for Start.com, cozy up to Windows Presentation Foundation. In the coming days/weeks, were going to be adding a Wiki for feedback and links to your own Gadgets. Like your mom said when you were two, its good to share.