I don't get widgets

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
I understand how bringing them up with a keystroke is nice. Other than that, I just don't get it.



1. Why bring up all widgets with one keystroke? Isn't it more convenient the way it is now, bringing up one app at a time? I often use the calculator to fiddle with some numbers residing on a window behind the calculator. But if you want to use the Dashboard calculator widget, you bring up all of them, cluttering up your entire screen. Don't most people just use one of these things at a time?



2. What's with the duplication between widgets and existing apps? I see that you can control iTunes from the iTunes widget, but why not just use the minimized iTunes itself? And what about iCal? What's the difference between iCal and the new Calendar widget? And Address book?



3. Why do they look so... garish?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    just saw i was talking about stuff that is in the konfabulator thread. ignore this
  • Reply 2 of 26
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Uh yeah, didn't want to get back into that .



    Another question: I wonder if this means Watson oops I mean Sherlock will be gone. I don't see mention of it anywhere, and it doesn't seem to be in the dock of any of the Tiger screenshots. And some of the widgets include Sherlock-type functions, such as stock tracker and package tracker.



    Dashboard would make more sense to me as a kind of replacement for Sherlock.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    In their demo they seem to just throw a whole bunch of widgets up there. It's my impression you can just customize so whatever specific widgets you want will come up, like the weather and the calculator.



    To me it just seems like a handy place for something that is seldom used, like the calc, but would be nice to be able to pull up quickly instead of digging through your applications folder
  • Reply 4 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    I assume that there will be an option to keep a given widget in place by the time Tiger is finalized. That is exactly the kind of thing that the developers themselves demand.



    Activate Dashboard, flip over, say the calculator, check "Keep widget in place" and flip it back over and it stays where you put it while the rest disappear.



    Sure, it's another step in Konfabulator's direction, but it makes sense. Conversely I'm sure Konfabulator will have a hide all preference next update.



    (This is a pissed off Arlo cranking out this next update, might get ugly).



    We got Konsposé days before WWDC, will we now see Kondashboard?
  • Reply 5 of 26
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    I assume that there will be an option to keep a given widget in place by the time Tiger is finalized. That is exactly the kind of thing that the developers themselves demand.



    Activate Dashboard, flip over, say the calculator, check "Keep widget in place" and flip it back over and it stays where you put it while the rest disappear.




    It sure seems easier to me to simply click on the calculator in the dock and then close it when you're done.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    I hope we can change the look of the Widgets themselves. They just look... silly.



    I like the colour of OS X, but these Widgets look too coloured and childlike. m.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    It sure seems easier to me to simply click on the calculator in the dock and then close it when you're done.



    The point of Dashboard is that it's always running, same as Dock and Exposé, there is no explicit launching or quitting by the user. Ever. The user should only need to expose the widget and use it.



    I'm tired of these little utility apps taking up room in my Dock. (Particularly appallingly silly is when Calculator is minimized):







    It's Dock icon, it's minimized window and it's icon again as a badge. But that's mostly an example for exaggeration.



    But, for some widgets, the user might want them to be on screen either always or at certain times. Having them all disappear is useless and having them hide all other apps is equally useless most of the time.



    Konfabulator and Dashboard are at the extremes. One leads to desktop clutter the other is anal retentive to the extreme. I say both need to meet each other halfway. You can be sure Konfabulator will include a way to make them all fade out or scatter. But whether Stevie will relent and let widgets stay in one place is another issue.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    murkmurk Posts: 935member
    Some inside info on Dashboard widgets: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt...06.html#005876
  • Reply 9 of 26
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by murk

    Some inside info on Dashboard widgets: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt...06.html#005876



    That is interesting:



    Quote:

    I wanted to blog briefly to clear up what the widgets actually are written in. They are Web pages, plain and simple (with extra features thrown in for added measure). Apple's own web site says "build your own widgets using the JavaScript language", but that's sort of misleading. The widgets are HTML+CSS+JS. They are not some JS-only thing.



    And that makes me wonder even further why they put calculator and address book and calendar in there. This seems to me to be a nice replacement for Sherlock. I've always liked the Watson/Sherlock 3 method of formatting web content in a more interesting manner than a standard browser would. But these widgets encourage even more interesting uses than Watson/Sherlock 3 would, because you don't need the interface consistency that those apps encourage. So you could have really cool looking movie times widget, TV schedule, dictionary, on and on.



    I just think they're going the wrong direction by putting calculators and other non-web thingies in there.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    That is interesting:







    And that makes me wonder even further why they put calculator and address book and calendar in there. This seems to me to be a nice replacement for Sherlock. I've always liked the Watson/Sherlock 3 method of formatting web content in a more interesting manner than a standard browser would. But these widgets encourage even more interesting uses than Watson/Sherlock 3 would, because you don't need the interface consistency that those apps encourage. So you could have really cool looking movie times widget, TV schedule, dictionary, on and on.



    I just think they're going the wrong direction by putting calculators and other non-web thingies in there.




    calculators and the other non web thingies are the exact reason i want Dashboard NOW. doing those funtions today is a pain the ass. if i want to use the calculator for a second i have to go find it, launch it and then quit it to get it out of the way. i dont keep it my dock vbecause i hate having a dock full of a million things, it makes it even harder to use. with this, i could go to a corner of the screen, the dashboard organization window appears i choose calculator, do my problem, go back to the same corner and its out of the way. very simple. very nice. i want.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    trevordtrevord Posts: 85member
    I have to agree that the calculator is the #1 reason I want dashboard, because it currently takes up space in my dock that I really don't want to bother with, because I hardly ever use it. But when I do want it, even the click in the dock and waiting for it to (quickly) launch seems like a waste of time... I want utilities like that to be up instantly.



    And I'd probably actually start to use Stickies in Dashboard. Right now, I never use it because I don't want to run a whole extra app (and have another icon in my dock) to keep notes I rarely use. So I just never use it. But as a widget, it's perfect.



    As for the Sherlock integration, yes, this is the way to do it. Sherlock was a great idea, but I never use it because it seems like too much of a pain. It'll become relevant for the first time as a collection of widgets.



    And I think pretty much all apps that offer a mini window (like iTunes) will end up producing a widget. Now that it'll be a standard part of the system, it makes sense to do it.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    i mostly want dashboard because it looks like i might have a shot in hell of actually CREATING something based on the web design knowledge i have already crammed up in my noggin'.



    see this article for why dashboard and konfab are similar on the surface, but the differences underneath are very exciting indeed.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Dashboard suffers from not merely a visual similarity to Konfabulator but from lack of detail regarding how it will work. This will change shortly.



    As implied above on Hyatt's blog, GREAT things are going to be possible, not merely cute little utility apps. I mean, think web page that can be any shape, rather than be stuck in a square. Not unlike QuickTime skins although they are seldom used to good effect.



    The underlying structure is radically different than Konfabulator, even Arlo will tell you that. It is a pure departure from what he was doing, under the hood.



    Arlo opted for a Javascript core that uses PNG for graphic resources to make it (relatively) easy to create mini apps.



    Apple opted for making a flexible window format that gets its shape from a PNG, while using WebKit (HTML/CSS/JavaScript/Flash/QuickTime/etc) to comprise its possible content.



    The application can be written in virtually anything. Hell, the logic could be purely perl, PHP or even ASP, whatever the remote server uses, as long as it returns something WebKit can handle. If you can do it in Safari, you can do it in a widget.



    It could be said Dashboard is "merely" arbitrary window shapes for WebKit, although we can assume there'll also be AppleScript support and who knows what other integration. That is better than "Dashboard is Exposé for widgets" which makes far less sense and seems like a blatant rip-off.



    I don't know the exact details but Dashboard is far more broad in scope than Konfabulator. Arlo will tell you, just ask him. But it stems from WebKit's power and open-endedness, not from any particular magic from Dashboard widgets themselves.



    But that is not to say that Arlo's design choice was a bad one. He made something that is very lightweight, yet powerful, but simple due to it's focus on just JavaScript.



    We'll see web views in Konfabulator but it won't be as robust as Apple's Dashboard, not for a while.



    Anyway, don't mistake Dashboard for "just" a Konfabulator rip-off. It might appear that way at first though.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Thanks for that link Rok,



    Finally, I can shut up and let John_Gruber do all my talking for me. I haven't agreed with someone so much in a lonnnng time.



  • Reply 15 of 26
    chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    I think johnq has it exactly right. At first I thought that Apple was being rather sleezy. Some time to consider, contemplate and meditate on this a bit has caused me to change my thinking a bit. It might LOOK bad...but I think what they have done is likely to be better (and different) than Konfabulator.



    BTW...I am a licensed K user and I like it very much.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    jginsbujginsbu Posts: 135member
    Judging by many of the comments here, it sure seems like what people really need is LaunchBar or Quicksilver. LaunchBar has solved all my "do I want this in the Dock?' questions and, since I have LaunchBar's Dock icon disabled, even it isn't in the Dock. System-wide Spotlight will offer a lot of this functionality in Tiger.



    Dashboard is aiming at something else, I think; it's real strength will be for things you just need to glance at or check on every now and again, but don't want in your way otherwise -- not things you need to manipulate. Weather, stock-ticker, and picture frames all fit this well -- the calculator and stickies less so. I'm a little concerned that Apple is just throwing anything widget-like (and particularly object-like) into Dashboard without considering whether the thing really benefits from modal treatment. I would find it distracting if I needed to do a quick calculation and had a ton of stuff fly onto my screen when I invoke Dashboard to get to the calculator!
  • Reply 17 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    LaunchBar or Quicksilver are (welcomed) band-aid solutions but Spotlight is the real deal.



    They are great for now but will seem limiting and tacked-on compared to Spotlight, I guarantee.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    jginsbujginsbu Posts: 135member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    LaunchBar or Quicksilver are (welcomed) band-aid solutions but Spotlight is the real deal.



    They are great for now but will seem limiting and tacked-on compared to Spotlight, I guarantee.




    Yes, but will Spotlight learn abbreviations?
  • Reply 19 of 26
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,355member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jginsbu

    Yes, but will Spotlight learn abbreviations?





    In a way yes. Just like in iTunes if i'm looking for song my results will constantly "whittle" away until I'm looking at only the most relevant files. Abbv are nice but sometimes I forget the abbv when I have too many to juggle.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jginsbu

    Yes, but will Spotlight learn abbreviations?



    There is a hint of that, with the keyword aliasing they showed in System Preference demo. I mean if Apple can manually map "wallpaper" to "Desktop" one can hope that there would be a way to add custom mappings for words or abbreviations.



    If not then certainly the two can co-exist. Nothing stopping developers from filling in Apple's gaps. I'm sure LaunchBar or Quicksilver will exist happily just as PathFinder, ZipIt, and PCalc are still around...
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