Before I started mucking around with those files, though, I read through Apple s excellent 
documentation on the subject. Apple developers are lucky to have such great technical 
documentation at their disposal, so be sure to utilize it if you head down this path. A quick visit 
to Apple s 
Developing Dashboard Widgets
 website will orient you much better than anything 
else 
Here are quick links to the main documents I started with: 
"
Introduction to Safari JavaScript Programming Topics
" 
"
Introduction to Dashboard Programming Guide
." 
(Note: If you installed the Developer Tools that came with your Tiger discs, you ve already got 
these documents on your Mac.) I strongly recommend you start by reading through this material. 
After that, just start ripping into the code! : ) 
And speaking of code to rip into, Apple has also provided a set of example widgets that 
demonstrate how various kinds of actions work. Here you ll find standard JavaScript functions 
for many of the animated actions you want to program, as well as for functions like looking up 
and displaying information from elsewhere on the web. There are about a dozen of these 
example widgets, and you ll find both a working widget as well as a folder with the code for 
each, so you don t have to do the "Show Package Contents" thing. The examples are at the 
Dashboard Sample Code
 site from Apple. Note that Apple s website includes updates to some of 
the examples that came with Tiger, as well as a new example  the SampleRSS widget  which in 
my case was very fortuitous. 
One of the things I was most interested in trying out was the relatively new "AJAX" web 
programming method. (AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript with XML.) This is the web 
application model Google has employed so spectacularly on its new 
Maps
 site, as well as 
elsewhere. This model enables richer web applications by allowing web pages to download and 
display data without having to be reloaded. 
  MPN, LLC 2005 macCompanion 
Page 13 
August 2005, Volume 3 Issue 8 




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