W3C Proposes Standards For Widgets
The World Wide Web Consortium is proposing a standard for coding widgets, those small, stand-alone applets that clutter your screen, displaying information on just about anything from stock market prices, Google AdSense earnings, and even the moon’s current phase, among others.
This document describes widgets. It covers the packaging format, the manifest file config.xml, and scripting interfaces for working with widgets.
The type of widgets that are addressed by this document are usually small client-side applications for displaying and updating remote data, packaged in a way to allow a single download and installation on a client machine. The widget may execute outside of the typical web browser interface. Examples include clocks, stock tickers, news casters, games and weather forecasters. Some existing industry solutions go by the names “widgets”, “gadgets” or “modules”.
The W3C is welcoming inputs to the working draft, with the aim of standardizing how the applets poll data from the source, and how these are coded. Currently, there are differing sets of programming, formatting, and data retrieval standards followed by the creators of widget platforms, such as OS X Dashboard, Google Desktop, and Yahoo! Widget Engine. Hopefully, this move will allow for better compatibility and easier development across platforms.