Mobile Widgets – the new hotness?

Over The Air was a month ago now, so this post has been sat in draft for way too long. But I thought it was still worth quickly sharing something noticeable from the event.

By way of quick background for those who aren’t familiar with it, it is an event for mobile developers – a couple of days filled with talks and presentations on all things mobile.

And this year, the big thing seemed to be widgets. There were a lot of talks on widgets. So many, in fact that you could choose a session in every time slot that was about widgets.

day 1

1pm – Widgets Best Practice or BONDI Widgets approach to security

2pm – Widget design patterns

3pm – Introducing BONDI widgets

4pm – LiMo Foundation’s widget SDK

4.30pm – Windows Mobile 6.5 widget framework

5.30pm – Vodafone’s widget toolkit

6.30pm – Layout techniques for widget development or Are widgets worth the hassle?

day 2

9am – W3C widgets

10.30am – LWUIT widget toolkit

11.30am – Widget testing or Apps vs widgets vs web

Even without choosing all of those, I still heard three or four explanations of what a widget is. And these aren’t including that some of the talks that weren’t about widgets still mentioned widgets.

So what is the lesson here?

If it sounds like I’m dissing Over The Air, I’m not – as I said last time, it’s an awesome event. And with the separate streams, there were generally six talks to choose from in each timeslot, so there were others to choose from. I’m not implying there wasn’t any choice.

What I am saying is that if Over The Air is representative (and with the impressive array of mobile dev talent they managed to pull together, I think it probably is) then the buzz in mobile development at the moment is in widgets.

Perhaps it was a little self-fulfilling. With two of the major sponsors being OMTP (creators of the BONDI widget framework) and Vodafone (who have been banging on about widgets being the second coming for ages now), an emphasis on widgets was probably unavoidable. And there were certainly a number of widget frameworks to cover. Even taking this into account though, a lot of the discussion over the weekend focused on mobile widgets.

The point is, apart from the technical info on how you actually do stuff with widgets, one of the biggest take-aways of the weekend was the importance of widgets at all – that I really need to put more time aside to trying out the various tools and frameworks.

Oh, and as I said at the time, that after you say a word too many times, it starts to sounds strange. By the end of Over The Air, the word “widget” had lost all meaning 🙂

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