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February 12, 2007


Rob Hutton

Great post. Not sure if the webpage will really go away... But wonder if others have picked up on Netvibes Widgets platform being insecure, as Niall Kennedy and Carnage4Life have posted-- link here.

John Dowdell

"Perhaps that is because Yourminis is built on Flash, which looks good but still takes up a lot of computing resources compared to Ajax-heavy sites...."

For comparable content, Adobe Flash Player is more efficient, whether in logic, streaming, startup, or rendering.

Having eight different processes on a page can be taxing, though, particularly if each widget's developer asked to run as fast as possible. Friendly widgets will set low framerates, or lengthy servicing intervals.



How can you compare Ajax to Flash with regards to resource efficiency? Perhaps you should have started out your sentence, " I don't know anything about Flash and Ajax, but boy it sure seems like its slower".

At a basic level, Flash allows users to download content "progressively" as opposed to all at once, which is what makes it so efficient.

Ron West


The programmable web is amazing. I think that you have hit this on the head. Are you writing about this anywhere else?

Dave Horowitz

What about the Webwag's Widget on Demand ? worth a try I guess. Webwag.com claims they invented the first ever user generated widget, and it works for any site they say.


Seems like Netvibes is following the footsteps of Pageflakes.com. Pageflakes had sharing feature for almost a year. They also introduced exporting their widgets to other websites for couple of months. It might be interesting to see what Netvibes comes up with this time. So far, they have always poorly copied Pageflakes innovations.

Bill Minton

This is the first time I'd heard of YourMinis.com, but I've been building a Netvibes like site at https://www.myownsite.us that you should check out if you like Netvibes. MyOwnSite is totally built with open source code, so the possibilities are endless. Other than MyOwnSite, Netvibes is my favorite of the online feed readers though. :)

Rogier Visser

great article. In the changing landscape of websites and the trend of widgets, Swoot created a technology ( freeware) which enables you to build your own web-based browser environment. This goed much further than widgets and gives the control over form, shape and content to the builder. In the meantime there are more than 200 browsers build with simple or detailed functionality. check it out on www.swoot.com


I love services like Netvibes. Great time-savers.

I think it's a big, big stretch to say that widgets are going to be the end of the Webpage.

For one thing, widgets simply represent a 'summary' platform for obtaining bits of content that interest you, in a consise form.

People are always going to want 'more info...' which equates to a scrollable webpage of detailed information/content.

Another issue with widgets is coherence. I personally don't want a Web where there's no place I can read a series (webpages) of useful articles, research, how-to's. I LOVE that about the Web.

We love and need webpages!

The Web is about more than personalized weather info, news headlines, YouTube videos, and the latest diggs. I think most of us enjoy the fact that some sites are like books, with pages of content we can read and enjoy in a flowing, coherent manner.


Erick Schonfeld

I don't believe the Webpage is going away either. It's just going to change.

As for the merits of Ajax versus Flash: While in theory Flash may be more efficient than Ajax, in practice so far it's not. I've seldom had an Ajax Website crash or slow down my browser. I've had plenty of Flash sites do so. Maybe that's the fault of the Website designers, rather than the technology.

I agree that Flash is getting better in this regard. It's just not there yet, at least from what I can observe as a visitor to many Flash sites.

Timothy Post

Let's not forget a whole class of new widgets which I call "Personal Widgets." Most of the current crop of widgets are focused on creating value to the viewer of a website.

For example, I might put a Flickr widget (they unfortunately call them badges but that's a whole other conversation) with the objective of sharing my photos with visitors to my blog. While these utility widgets are fine, Personal Widgets hold more potential, IMHO, for a more robust business model.

An example, of a Personalized Widget might be a widget I create in my Hilton Honors user account. My user account is customized with my history, personal information (e.g. credit card), and my preferences as a guest at their hotels.

Hilton SHOULD be offereing to take all this data and rolling it into a Personal Web Widget which I can then store someplace like Netvibes or Google Startpage.

This personal widget may have a public face (the logo of Hilton) but when clicked it would require a password to access. For me the widget owner, this Personal Widget would serve as a distributed data container (i.e. like a record in a Contact Manager).

When I travel I can take this widget with me in a couple different forms. I could access this widget online through any internet connection, I could (say it ain't so) print it out, or I could import it onto a mobile device (iPhone being the one we all hope).

This mobile data container would be very useful to me while traveling. No longer would I need to take a silly plastic card in a special travel wallet.

If Hilton got serious about its widgets it could add custom barcodes which would hold all my data in machine readable format. Walk-up to the registration counter at the Hilton hotel in Amsterdam and the desk person could scan the barcode on your iPhone.

Another cool feature with Personal Widget is that since they "pull" their data from the company's own servers, the company could use that widget as a real time communication device. If Hilton wanted to offer me a free cocktail it could send that offer to my Hilton widget. When I check-in a confirmation of my stay could be sent to the widget. There are thousands of possibilities.

I have very specific ideas on how to monetize these personal widgets but I'll save them for another time because this comment is too long. If you want to discuss, stop by my blog www.timothypost.com

Erick Schonfeld

Great comment, Timothy. I agree. The more personalized a widget can be, the more attention it will command from the user. When that personalized widget comes from a company, as in your Hilton example, that is what I referred to in the post as a marketing widget. Again, the more personalized the better. Marketing messages thus have the potential to become a service I subscribe to willingly because they are customized to my experience rather than an annoying or intrusive ad.

Then what you have is not so much blanket advertising as relationship building.

Timothy Post


Quick question. While I am pretty conversant on widgets in general, I have just begun to explore Netvibes. Unless I am missing this feature, I was disappointed that I could not create a new module by simply copying and pasting some embded code.

For example, what if I simply wanted to have my LinkedIn button appear on my Netvibes page? LinkedIn provides users with a snippet of embed code which I can easily paste into my blog's sidebar but I was unable to find a way of doing this at Netvibes.

If I am correct (and I hope that I am not) then Netvibes, in my opinion, is missing the true essence of widgets, plus a huge busness opportunity.

The missing piece in the widget ecosystem currently is a service which lets folks host their collection of widgets (and also web badges). While it's great that Netvibes provides tools to "roll your own" widget, I want the freedom to find widgets in the wild and store them there too.

Please let me know if I just missed this feature (BTW- while the developer section may be the answer, it's a bit too technical for the average widgethead).

Thanks, Tim


Pageflakes had exportable widgets for a long time. They also have the so called social features (I think the sharing of pages was introduced at least 6 months ago). Looks like Netvibes is just trying to catch up and copy from Pageflakes. Even Webwag which is much younger than Netvibes has exportable widgets, and also WOD.

Mark Eibner

Fantastic post! - great information! I have used Pageflakes for quite some time and loved it....now even MS/vista is in on the act, with their own little Widgets you can load. I see a day when super Widgets will truly become the WEBPAGE. The concept of "ontology" - web server to web server sharing data between super widgets to find and auto-create new widgets is the future.

Mark Eibner

Fantastic post! - great information! I have used Pageflakes for quite some time and loved it....now even MS/vista is in on the act, with their own little Widgets you can load. I see a day when super Widgets will truly become the WEBPAGE. The concept of "ontology" - web server to web server sharing data between super widgets to find and auto-create new widgets is the future.

Nir Ofir

Very smart and bold move by netvibes that did not choose the web 1.0 way = become the next futuristic dominating web portal...or maybe this is exactly the way to do it :-)


i think it was frog design that predicted the widget economy in a Gizmodo article. They also did Alltel's Celltop (widgets on the phone).


From a web design standpoint, I think that web sites will have to evolve to make their content more personal for their visitors through the use of widgets. I see many open source methods to do this popping up in the next few years, and will make them more valuable than vanilla web sites that just have one view of content. Anyone know of open source resources doing this now?

voip requirements list man

widgets make life easier by providing virtually instant access to desired info from the desktop but they will never take the place of good ole surfing. remember that only mac users have em.

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