W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-bpwg@w3.org > February 2008

Re: Widgets Re: ISSUE-237 (Define Mobile Web Applications)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 17:53:07 +0100
To: "Sean Owen" <srowen@google.com>
Cc: "Jeff Sonstein" <jeffs@it.rit.edu>, public-bpwg@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.t61futqswxe0ny@widsith.local>

On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 16:37:19 +0100, Sean Owen <srowen@google.com> wrote:

> If that's what widget means, then it sounds related to what BP2 should
> be about, since they are just web pages with some extra information.
> Will there be BPs about widgets per se? I doubt it, as it sounds like
> this is a technology that is not even yet standardized, let alone
> implemented in practice, and we're here to codify existing practice
> only.

The point of standardising it was that it is implemented in practice.  
Opera, Apple, Nokia and others ship this to phones, it's available for Wii  
and various flavours of desktop such as opera (all desktop OS), MacOS,  
iPhone, and there are various systems that embed widgets into a web  
application you can use, from providers like Google and AOL.

Unfortunately the current systems are a morass of slightly different  
mechanisms, so you have to bloat out your widget to make it run in several  
different engines - in the same way you need to bloat out your application  
to handle IE's failure to implement some basic standards.

The rough idea is that you get an applicaiton and Zip it into a bundle. To  
make it work in opera, you need a file called config.xml that provides a  
few basic things like its intrinsic size, and you an add stuff like a  
handheld media style to make it adapt itself to phones, or media queries  
to make it do really precis adaptation. To make it compatible with Apple,  
if I recall correctly, you rename the package to foo.wdgt and copy the  
info in config.xml to a slightly different XML file. To make it work for  
AOL's desktop system you repeat the config information again in some  
microformat-based stuff in the main page of the application. And so on...

>  But it sounds like we want to write about existing practice
> on the same set of technologies that underpin the widgets you
> describe, and nothing suggests specifically excluding this application
> of web technologies.

I think the technology is clearly a best practice for delivering  
applications - you are basically reducing the transfer from the entire  
application to just the changing bits. Since widgets have persistent  
client-side storage, you can use them for real stuff like mail  
applications or the fairly common feed readers as well as the apparently  
ubiquitous stock tickers, clocks, weather information (if you are mobile,  
why not just look up to find out the weather?).

If we are lucky, standardisation of the spec and implementations will  
proceed about as fast as we do, in which case we could actually recommend  
this stuff.



Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals   Try Opera 9.5: http://snapshot.opera.com
Received on Sunday, 24 February 2008 16:53:56 UTC

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