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Widget (computing)

From Academic Kids

A widget (or control) is a graphical interface component that a computer user interacts with, such as a window or a text box. Widgets are sometimes qualified as virtual to distinguish them from their physical counterparts, e.g. virtual buttons that can be clicked with a mouse cursor, vs physical buttons that can be pressed with a finger. Widgets are often packaged together in widget toolkits. Programmers use widgets to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Some say, that the word 'widget' is derived from the combination of 'window' and 'gadget'.

Various widgets

Desktop widgets

Missing image
DesktopX_Objects.jpg
Examples of desktop widgets, shown here in DesktopX

Alternatively, a widget is a small specialised desktop application that provides easy access to frequently used functions or provides some visual information. Early examples of widgets were desk accessories on Mac OS. Typical widgets include RSS feed readers (http://dmense.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=5381&SkinID=303&LibID=34), clocks (http://dmense.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=5381&SkinID=314&LibID=34), calculators, calendars, desktop notes and weather forecasts.

Originally desk accessories were developed to provide a small degree of multitasking, but when real multitasking OSes became available, these were replaced by normal applications. However, the widget model is attractive because of ease of development. Most widgets can be easily created with a few images and a few hundred lines of XML/JavaScript/VBScript.

On Windows and Mac OS X support for widgets is provided by Konfabulator, Samurize, DesktopX, Kapsules and similar widget engines. Native support for widgets is included in Mac OS X v10.4 (via Dashboard), Mac OS X v10.3.9 (via Amnesty Widget Browser (http://www.mesadynamics.com/amnesty.htm)) and Windows Longhorn.

See also

pl:Widget de:Widget ru:Элемент интерфейса

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