A long time ago in a galaxy far away there was a concept of ‘Widgets’ taken from product lore and applied to the computer interface. The first widespread use I ever had was with a tool called Konfabulator (which today lives on as Yahoo Widgets)
There were a number of interesting applications but one I used as a frequent Ferry traveler was a webcam app that looked at the Ferry lineups. Orignally posted by Richard Smith based on an update of some Ottawa webcams widget. BC Ferries Widget – Yahoo It later broke when BC Ferries updated their site and in the absence of any other updates I stepped in and updated the code and redistributed it.
There are now about 20 different ‘widget-thing’ environments. When Apple subsumed the widget into the operating system with the inclusion of Dashboard. I made a feeble attempt to move my previous effort over. While it worked it was a bit of a cludge. (Slightly revised Dashboard version)
Enter Dashcode; this is the development environment that is availble from Apple Developer Connection to create Dashboard Widgets. It is laughingly simple in some respects and the ability creating a few one-off applications for your own use is a massively underutilized part of the OS X environment.
The other factor in Dashcode is it can also be used to deploy to the iPhone (+ iPod Touch). While coding has never been a main part of my work – the thought of creating tools that you can run on your cellphone is just too cool to pass up. So the short term goal is to re-write the old BC Ferries Widget using the standard conventions of Dashcode and hopefully port it as an iPhone app. Documenting what I can about the sucesses and failures for all to see – here.