Tiger introduced the Dashboard, which provides a new & unique class of mini-applications called Widgets (or gadgets). While the Dashboard will prove a powerful feature for Macintosh (Tiger) users, for widget developers it introduces a rich new media development environment. Widgets are quick to develop and easy to deploy (on the mac and other platforms), and they can leverage on the Macintosh all of Tiger’s advanced technologies. Widgets are perfect for working with small amounts of data or interacting with other applications, both on your desktop and across the web. And they provide an excellent way to add functionality to an existing application. This means there are many opportunities for developers, whether creating new products, or adding market-differentiating value to an existing one.
Xcode 2.0 include the info you need to get started. Dashboard docs are located in the ADC Reference Library (see Apple Applications). For Dashboard code and sample Widgets are available.
Widgets are ready to use when Dashboard is activated and disappear when the Dashboard is put away, allowing quick “at-a-glance” usage. Since Dashboard is part of the system and doesn’t require the installation of any additional components, Widgets can become essential tools for users. Each Widget is task-specific and lightweight. And if a Widget needs a little bit more interface room for setting preferences, Dashboard lets them “flip” over and use the back of the Widget.
Widgets fall into one of the following categories:
* Accessory Widgets are usually self-contained and do not require support from an application or Internet access. Clocks, timers, calculators, and note-takers fall into this category.
* Application Widgets can be associated with a full-fledged application. This type of Widget enhances the application by providing a less complicated and often read-only interface. The iTunes Controller, music widgets and Address Book Widgets fall into this category.
* Information Widgets are designed to work with data from the Internet. These Widgets allow you to monitor external events such as the weather, flight status, or stock price