Part II – WTF is a Widget?

In our last episode, I promised to start brain storming on the definition of Widget. Good to my sequel promise, in this post I will try to dive into the depths of Widget philosophy. Ironically, this question came up several times this week, so it is a good time to start thinking about a decent answer! With further adieu on with our show…

According to the kind folks contributing to Wikipedia:

A widget (or control) is an interface component that a computer user interacts with, such as a window or a text box. Widgets are sometimes qualified as virtual to distinguish them from their physical counterparts, e.g. virtual buttons that can be clicked with a mouse cursor, vs. physical buttons that can be pressed with a finger. Widgets are often packaged together in widget toolkits. Programmers use widgets to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

That is a pretty decent start, but is still a bit too high level for me. Given the fact that it is a bit tough to define generically, I am going to take a slightly different cut at this. Specifically, let’s start by taking a stab at a more specific term – Web Widget. According to the all knowing Hoo-pedia the definition is as follows:

A Web Widget is a portable software application, or module, that can be installed and executed within one, or more separate browser-based application platforms by an End User without requiring additional compilation.

Whew. Does that make sense? That basically covers all the bling you can place on MySpace, as well as the more utilitarian services that you can use across MySpace and blogging platforms like Typepad, etc. That is my two-cents. I wonder what Pete Cashmore, Richard MacManus, Dion Hinchcliffe and other Web 2.0 thought leaders think. Maybe I will ask…

More on this to come. Tune in next time for more fantastic fun with your friendly neighborhood Hoo-man. Yee-haw!

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