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Web Widgets, Where Art Thou?

From: Daniel Buchner <daniel@mozilla.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:28:46 -0700
Message-ID: <CAHZ6zJFpSaRUTTxthoSmaKcWgGYb+QDcEBTJXz_EwQiLkMWuYw@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>
As some of you are aware, a widget spec or two (
http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/PR-widgets-apis-20120522/) have been floating
around for a while. These were never widely adopted for various reasons -
not the least of which was their complexity.

Well, hold on to your shorts folks: I would like to rekindle the idea of
web widgets, but with an eye toward simplicity that builds on open web app
concepts and mechanism.

My proposal is simple:

Widgets are just an alternate (or even the same) app 'launch_path' a
developer would declared under a 'widget' key in their existing App
Manifest. The UA would launch this URL in whatever widget UI containers it
creates, for example: squares on a New Tab, a floating panel, etc., and add
a few things to the document context - namely: an imperative means for
detecting the document is being displayed in a widget state, and a new
media query type 'widget' for styling (especially helpful if the developers
chooses to use a single origin for their app and widget)

What this allows for:

- Let's us utilize the existing declaration and installation mechanisms for
web apps (which is the same place widgets are already declared in today's
common native app packages)

- Provides a great new variant of content for all UAs who already are
implementing apps

- Delivers huge user benefit at a relatively low cost

"Stupid-Simple Web Widgets: great idea, or greatest idea?...I'm gonna put
you down for great."


*PS - If the word 'widget' makes you feel dirty and sad-faced (which it
shouldn't, as Android proved and iOS concurred), let's just imagine we're
talking about the W3 Web Dingus spec for now and focus on the user value
proposition ;) *
Received on Friday, 19 July 2013 21:29:44 UTC

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