Gadget Geek Journey; Desintation 1:

Time to get serious on my resolutions. Well, at least one anyway; I’ll start the waist shrinking/walking later. It’s Thursday Geekout time!

Inspired by Robert Scoble’s gadget posting, and a general feeling that gadgets are where it is at for non-professional programmers like myself.

So, first port-of-call then on to the Developer center

Decision time: what to gadget up? A Cricket gadget is underway. I am sure that one of the various national religions of football will follow come March. For weather I can use my real window to look outside. (note: growing up on a farm, you learn to read the weather by looking through the window at the clouds). Neil Finn Lyrics!

So, there is some magic back-end code that is pulling the data from a small database, and rendering text smartly onto a random Neil Finn image. This will be the first step. No need to confuse myself with too much shenanigans just yet.

Off to the Developer’s Guide, and download the examples from the .zip. Oooh, css xml javascript. Easy. I have a localhost web server running, so that’s no stress. Text editor open, coding music in the ears.

How to test out the gadget? OK, I need Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005. Now is a good time as any to test it out. There is a method of harnessing your local gadget to Internet Explorer and the servers to test out before embarrassing yourself publicly! Hmm, seems like you can directly access the test harness with the correctly formed URL. There are three versions of this URL that I can find.

OK, it seems that the gadget testing Javascript harnesses, Internet Explorer 7 and cross-site scripting are in the midst of a conspiracy to stop testing. Time to hit the production servers with the code.

This posting on the new Gadgets forums helps: just go straight into, cross your fingers!

Works first time! After an hour of cleaning up and renaming things as per the recommendations, here it is:

Click: Neil Finn Lyric Gadget

Further comment gadgets are simple to create. XML file manifest, or list of what’s important; a CSS file to style your content and the Javascript. This Javascript contains the logic of your gadget which is essentially inserting HTML into the stream. It can gather text externally to generate this HTML into something more interesting than a picture.

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