Home Widgetbox Releases Blidgets

Widgetbox Releases Blidgets

Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus

We covered Widgetbox,
the widget market place, in June last year as
well as during its DEMOfall 2006
. Today Widgetbox announced a new product called blidgets, which helps bloggers
create a widget that represents their blog.

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.

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