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Using W3C widgets in a web container: two implementations contrasted

From: Scott Wilson <scott.bradley.wilson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 19:55:46 +0000
Message-Id: <55C7C834-FF8F-4C7A-BD9B-7686ED8D19E4@gmail.com>
To: public-webapps@w3.org


Two EU-funded projects have implemented the draft W3C Widgets  
specifications, both the packaging and API parts.

What is notable from these projects have been the adaptations used to  
enable widgets conforming to the draft to be used in a web environment  
rather than in a dedicated platform such as a browser, OS or device  
"widget layer". We've documented and discussed the extensions and  
implementation approaches here:


In brief, the Palette project has added W3C widgets functionality  
through developing the engine as part of an open-source portal web  
application, whereas the TenCompetence project developed a standalone  
open-source engine for adding widgets to multiple web applications,  
rather similar in approach to the Apache Shindig project for  
implementing Google OpenSocial.

In addition, both projects wanted to add additional functionality to  
the API; this has included state coupling and shared states to enable  
richer interaction between (a) widgets in the same user context and  
(b) instances of the same widget from different users (i.e.  
collaborative applications such as chat and voting).

Note that though both were funded by the EC IST programme, Palette and  
TenCompetence had not been collaborating prior to a recent event where  
members of both were asked to provide papers, when we discovered we  
had undertaken parallel efforts at solving the same problems with the  
same specifications! Hopefully this gives others an opportunity to  
learn from our different approaches.

Both projects are focussed on networked learning solutions and  
research, for which Widgets provided an elegant solution to a number  
of issues in reaching learners and co-ordinating access to  
functionality. For more background on the projects themselves, see:




Scott Wilson
Assistant Director, JISC CETIS
University of Bolton

Received on Thursday, 15 January 2009 10:19:53 UTC

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