The one-day Widgets Live event was held yesterday in San Francisco. The very worthwhile event was put together by Naill Kennedy and Om Malik as a way to bring together the players, products and developers in the “emerging widget economy”. As they note “Web pages have gotten smaller, included as components within the desktop, personal homepage, blog sidebars, social networking sites, mobile, and even dedicated hardware. Widgets have become a distribution network, pushing your content to the edge of the web and syndicated to an increasing number of connected endpoints.”
The marketplace primarily consists of the major players with widget platforms, often listed here — Google Homepage API, Microsoft Live Gadgets API, and Yahoo! Widgets API — along with a growing set of startups including WidgetBox and Snipperoo. Some are web only, some are desktop only, and now there’s a web and desktop option (see Fox’s announcement below). While they each have their strengths, the primary catch for developers with all of these widget platforms is the general lack of cross-platform compatibility (that is the ability to use the same widget across multiple platforms without re-coding).
The biggest announcement of the day came from Fox Interactive Media (FIM) who launched their own proprietary platform SpringWidgets. It also includes a Windows-only desktop portion that allows you to drag widgets directly from a web page onto your desktop.
You can see the new Programmable Web SpringWidgets API entry here.