CS and the City Sean Lynch

Innovation Place menu gadget and the state of iGoogle

I’ve been helping the local guys at VendAsta on their secret project for the last few months.  It’s been a great experience working for a Saskatoon-based startup using a lot of really forward facing technologies. It’s also been very cool to work in Saskatoon’s homegrown tech park: Innovation Place.

Innovation Place has all the facilities you’d expect, including a most excellent cafe with daily specials.  To help me make the most out of the cafe’s offerings, I hacked together a simple Google Gadget to do the heavy lifting.  Fellow IP-ers feel free to add it to your own page.

Add to Google 

I’ve done a few simple gadgets in the past, but this was a good refresher into the current state of gadgets. For those interested, here are a few thoughts on the space:

  • The original Google Gadget API is being depreciated in favour of the gadget.* API specified in OpenSocial.  You can take a look at the new gadget API here.  I haven’t done enough digging to figuring out any substantial architectural differences, but please leave a comment if you come across one.
  • The new Gadget API is not supported on the current version of iGoogle.  The iGoogle developer sandbox does, however.
  • The old documentation used to recommend using Google Pages to store gadget assets.  However, Google’s recent move to kill off Pages in favour of Sites has removed this option for prospective developers.  Perhaps Google App Engine could serve a similar purpose?
    • Related thought: Build an GAE application solely to host other people’s gadgets.  Static gadgets are simple, but some thought would be needed on the tools required to host dynamic gadgets.  Also a way to pass GAE hosting costs on to gadget developers.  I’ll have to give this some more though.
  • OpenSocial gadgets on iGoogle have a lot of potential.