Yahoo! Widgets 3.0 Released

by Ed on December 12, 2005

Yes, finally. Yahoo! Widget Engine (nee Konfabulator) was just released today. It’s a huge step forward both in end user benefit and developer features.

For users, there are all new Widgets that connect to Yahoo! properties (Search, Maps, Flickr, Y! Photos, Notepad, 360) and some significant fixes, particularly for Outlook users who used PIM Overview (now called Day Planner). It also brings some performance improvements, particularly on Mac. We were encountering problems with Cocoa’s lack of support for overlapping sibling views. Apparently the answer in the past was to just draw everything all the time. But that wasn’t flying so well these days with more complex Widgets. So I changed it to bypass the Cocoa view system and just use the same basic view system we do on Windows. We tried to layer it at first but we got some weird overdrawing issues with rotated items. Turns out eliminating the Cocoa draw path sped us up considerably (very user-perceptable in some Widgets such as Atomic Timer).

For developers, there is a whole new set of features: a native XML parser, Level 1 DOM support , XPath, XMLHttpRequest, subviews, scroll bars, and much more. The interesting thing is that I still have a whiteboard full of things we still want to do for the future. We’re hardly done making this platform as powerful as we want it to be.

Anyway, I’m very glad this is now out the door as we can start concentrating on some of the features I’ve been dying to do for some time. Things that will really up the ante for what you can pull off in a Widget. But first I must rest and do my Christmas shopping!

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