Before boarding a plane to head over to Europe, I purchased my usual Business 2.0 magazine (April 2007) and found an interesting article on widgets. This article reported recent advancements in desktop widgets in the enterprise space. To my delight, they had a great image of an Xcelsius target=”new”generated revenue tracker widget designed for Salesforce.com. I sat back and asked myself one question… At what point will this desktop widget craze materialize into something valuable or just roll up into the next big thing: Rich Internet Applications on the desktop?
Desktop widgets were the first iteration of what Adobe and other industry players have coined rich internet applications. It was the combination of Yahoo widgets and Apple desktop that propelled this cool technology into a desktop widget craze, as seen in Business 2.0, Wall Street Journal, and other publications. The draw for end users is the demand for a streamlined, customized, and aesthetically pleasing mini application that exists outside of the browser. There were three descriptors missing in the previous sentence that in many cases still restrict widgets from really catching fire.
1. A strong security model- While existing frameworks are wonderful in displaying and rendering content, they are not designed to address security to satisfy enterprise requirements.
2. Customizable content- While the technology is cool, without an ability to view customized content, widgets will always be perceived as desktop “toys.”
3. A solid monetization path- It seems the path of least resistance is to make widgets free, and concentrate on using widgets as a value-add for existing software platforms, and applications.
The article in Business 2.0 indicates that enteprise software vendors are taking a stab at desktop widgets.