them, I m now convinced that this new way of getting web information is the future. It s really 
the next step beyond Sherlock, and in some ways is just an extension of RSS and an easy way of 
leveraging web services on your desktop. If I needed any confirmation for my gut feeling on this, 
Yahoo provided it this week by gobbling up Konfabulator (before Microsoft could get to them, 
I m sure)! (More on that later...) 
Building this widget also took me back by confirming what I had read about Dashboard widgets 
 namely, they are really just little web pages that use transparency and run outside of a web 
browser. They can do more than web pages can do if you get fancy with them, and Apple has 
added some spectacular animations to Dashboard to make them look cooler than anything a 
browser can do, but... bottom line... if you know HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and graphics, you can 
build a Dashboard widget! 
Of course, to get started, I found a couple of good widgets to crib from. : ) Heck, that s how I 
learned HTML and JavaScript in the first place! One of the reasons the web took off like it did is 
that the underlying code for web pages is totally transparent. All you have to do is "show 
source", and there s the code for you to study. Creative types who like simple programming 
(Gee, isn t that what a Mac user is?) were 
delighted with what they could do as web 
page design matured, and they ll be 
similarly delighted with the widget model. 
With widgets, you have to know how to 
look inside Mac OS X "packages," but 
that s easy enough to do. Right click (Ctrl 
click) on a widget in the Finder, and select 
"Show package contents." Once inside the 
Contents folder, you ll see that there are 
just a few little files  an HTML page, one 
or more JavaScript files, a Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) file, some graphics, and some widget 
required .plist (property list XML) files. 
  MPN, LLC 2005 macCompanion 
Page 12 
August 2005, Volume 3 Issue 8 




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