Developing Sidebar Gadgets: Part 1 – Introduction

One of the cool new features of Windows Vista, is the Windows Sidebar.  The Sidebar is an application that runs as part of the Windows shell on the right portion of the screen.  This Sidebar contains different mini web applications known as gadgets.  These web applications contain HTML and scripting language either in the form of Javascript or VBScript.

A Sidebar gadget may consist of a very simple design and function like displaying the date or time, or may be relatively complex like a stock ticker that has to access the Internet at regular intervals to retrieve stock quote updates.  That’s the beauty of a Sidebar gadget, something so simple can wind up being a great gadget idea.

Case and point … Christmas happens to be my favorite holiday.  Around this time of the year I start to get a little excited as temperatures cool, Fall prepares for Winter and the snow to fly.  What is more exciting than planning for the holiday season and knowing how many days exactly till Christmas?  That seemed my the perfect idea for a gadget.  How about if I can display the days, hours, minutes, and seconds till December 25, 2007.  Such a simple concept.  My “Christmas Countdown” gadget was posted on October 10 and has seen over 1,400 downloads in four days.  That’s pretty funny considering what it does, but proves the fact that something so simple can be interesting to lots of people.

The whole purpose of this series is to educate those interested in the development of Sidebar Gadgets.  I had a background in .NET development both for the desktop platform as well as the web.  I did have to educate myself on Javascript, but if you have a C# background, you’ll find the syntax to be very similar.

As part of this series, we’ll dissect the development process that was involved in creating the “Christmas Countdown” gadget from the ground up.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will cover what makes up a gadget package and its contents.

  • Pascal Dudleyjoe

    Dear Braun,
    i’m Paskalis Dudijo a college student from indonesia..i’m excited and interested with your Christmas Countdown Vista Gadget 1.0.1 project and wanted to include and share your modified version from your gadget in my personal blog, with add automatically get current christmas day feature..i’m totally beginner with gadget development and JavaScript, so i try started with fix your stuff.. :p

    i think both of you gadget and this Christmas Is Coming gadget has a same main.js script..so i’m confused to get permission from you or from Charles.. 🙁

    i hope I can soon get a reply from you, because because of the Christmas day is almost here.. ++.

    sorry for my bad english 🙁

    happy christmas

    Paskalis Dudijo