17 thoughts on “Widgets to Microsoft Gadgets”

  1. i’m not claiming that they invented it… but “active desktop” has been available for at least since XP and I thought it was on 2000. I had programmed a few apps for it… Om- you’re the mac guy, did they have a dashboard esque app back then?

  2. The Windows Vista Sidebar was announced years before Apple emulated Konfabulator’s approach to desktop widgets in Mac OS X Tiger. The original concept for the Sidebar platform is from over four years ago (MSR) and MSN 8/Premium has had a sidebar (called MSN Dashboard!) used by millions of people since 2002.

    The Windows Vista Sidebar wasn’t a surprise to anyone except maybe people who haven’t been paying attention 😉 It was even shown back at PDC 2003… and I believe it was in the tech preview builds handed out; SDK and everything.

    You might want to read this MSR paper published in 2001 for more on sidebars (and a pretty familiar UI and feature set):


  3. The concept of a sidebar dates by to 2001. Both MSN and Windows had the concept working on pre-alpha code. The concept of widgets/gadgets dates back to way before Konfabulator or Apple. What MS has done is very much like the Konfabulator approach which Apple also copied. The difference with MS’s approach is the ability to move those gadgets from a desktop to another Windows device to a webpage. It’s an interesting idea.

    But to claim Windows is not innovative because of something Apple has is just reality distortion. You are ignoring everything else that was shown on just day 1 at PDC. Office has no more dropdown menus for crying out loud. You don’t think Apple will copy that?

  4. “Om- you’re the mac guy, did they have a dashboard esque app back then?”

    In System 6 to 9, they were called Desk Accessories. So to answer your question, yes.

  5. Wasn’t the Dashboard/Widgets idea floated around by PARC or the original Mac OS. This concept has been along much longer than the beginning of the 21st century.

    I mean you could probably make claims the the system tray icons also serve a similar function.

  6. “In System 6 to 9, they were called Desk Accessories. So to answer your question, yes.”

    Actually, just to be a nit, in System 1 through 6 they were called “Desk Accessories.” In System 7 through 9, they were “Apple Menu Items.”

    For those of us on a technical bent, “Desk Accessories” were actually simple device drivers that didn’t control any device (which is why they were DRVR resources). To really date myself, I’ll also point out that SideKick for DOS worked similarly.

    I wrote a Phone Book desk accessory back in 1986 or so.

    When System 7 came out, desk accessories “went away” and became applications. Apple made a little app that, when you chose a DRVR desk accessory, it launched a little app that ran the DRVR code (for compatibility).

  7. As for operating systems, desk accessories are the only the first half, the other would be Sherlock for the web based stuff (I don’t remember, did Sherlock come out in OS 8 or 9?). The concept itself, however, is as old as the hills and probably predates the founding of either Apple or M$.


  8. What’s weird about this whole thing as well is that when Apple first announced Dashboard, they quite intentionally called the modules “Gadgets” instead of “Widgets”. “Widgets” was already being used by Konfabulator. Strangely, sometime between the initial unveiling and the actual release, Apple switched to the Widget terminology, and now we see Microsoft going with “Gadgets”.


  9. Who cares who thought of it first? Who implemented it first? Who was able to put out a stable OS that ran these applications smoothly. Apple put out a beautiful OS that implemented almost everything Windows Vista is TRYING to do. The only application that Windows edges Mac on is Media Center and that might be changing soon.

  10. Pingback: microsoft widgets

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