Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus
Widgetbox, the widget market place, in June last year as well as during its DEMOfall 2006 launch. Today Widgetbox announced a new product called blidgets, which helps bloggers create a widget that represents their blog.We covered
Widgetbox is an online marketplace that connects widget developers and widget consumers. It acts as a mediator and solves the problem of adapting widgets to different environments, as well as tracking widget usage. For a step-by-step example of how consumers use widgets today, check out our Christmas post. With the introduction of blidgets, Widgetbox moves into widget creation.
So what are these blidgets?
The idea behind blidgets (a short for bl[og w]idgets) is to enable promotion of a blog on web sites, other blogs and social networking destinations like MySpace. A blidget is basically a wrapper around an RSS feed. Here is how it works:
Step 1: Enter the URL of your blog
Step 2: Customize the look and feel of the blidget
Step 3: You are done!
Your blidget now is like any other widget available on Widgetbox. This means that you can deploy it to a number of platforms. My personal favorite is MySpace, because it is non trivial to add widgets there otherwise. It also means that other Widgetbox users can discover and place this widget onto their blogs and profiles.
Are blidgets all that important?
A likely initial reaction to blidgets is that they are nice to have, but not that compelling. Most blogging software, like Wordpress for example, has the ability to embed a raw RSS feed as a widget. It might not look as pretty, but it gets the job done. Also, it is unclear that anyone besides the blogger would be interested in using this widget. Perhaps some die hard fans, but it is not going to be common.
Yet, what Widgetbox has done is important in the grand scheme of pushing the widgetization of the web forward. Widgetbox has started what we believe is going to become a trend - an end-to-end thinking about widgets. In software development terminology it is called a use case, which is an example that illustrates a process flow from start to finish. Widgetbox has recognized that in a marketplace, the producers (of widgets in this case) might also be the consumers. And if this is the case, it does not make sense to have a gap between production of a widget and its deployment. Instead a better approach is to introduce a flow:
With Blidgets, we are nearing the ability to embed and display the bits of our content anywhere and everywhere. Instead of duplicating information, widgets offer a window on existing content. They allow mashing up and recombining data in whatever way makes the most sense based on the context. The old analogy of GUI builders comes to mind. Once the process of creating and displaying the widgets is super easy, we will have succeeded in remixing the web at large.