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Nolan Morgan
Nolan Morgan

Yahoo! Widgets 4

Yahoo Widgets is a discontinued free application platform for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, specifically Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. The software was previously called Konfabulator, but after being acquired by computer services company Yahoo on July 25, 2005 it was rebranded.[2][3] The name Konfabulator was subsequently reinstated as the name of the underlying rendering engine. The engine uses a JavaScript runtime environment combined with an XML interpreter to run small applications referred to as widgets, and hence is part of a class of software applications called widget engines. On February 27, 2012 Yahoo updated the License agreement stating that as of April 3, 2012 Yahoo! Widgets will continue to be available for download but support and development would stop.[4]

Yahoo! Widgets 4

Yahoo Widget Engine includes some default widgets to get users started, including a weather widget, a digital clock, and a calendar among other things. Some of the most downloaded ones include a world time zone clock,[5] dedicated countdown timers,[6] simple RSS feed readers,[7] and webcam viewers.[8]

Each widget runs in its own system process, separate from other types of widgets and the main Konfabulator system process itself, thus improving the stability of the software application as a whole. Should a problem occur with a Konfabulator widget requiring it to be shut down, that particular widget can be shut down without affecting other widgets or the main Konfabulator application.[9] A disadvantage of doing this was the computer memory needed for each process to run, which was possibly a potential problem on the computers of the time that were typically equipped with only 512mb-2gb RAM. This was a minor issue compared to the RAM consumed by the graphical nature of the widgets which could make them more RAM intensive than traditional square shaped desktop apps.

Yahoo Widgets provides a feature that can quickly bring all open widgets to the top of the desktop. It can be activated by pressing a hotkey (set by the user). This causes all widgets to be brought to the foreground, and all other applications to be dimmed. Widgets can also be set to be Konsposé-only, meaning that they will only appear when Konsposé is activated. Initially called Konsposé (alluding to Mac OS X's Exposé), it was renamed to "Heads-Up Display" with the release of Yahoo Widget Engine.[10]

With the introduction of Yahoo Widget Engine 4.0, the engine has included a feature called the dock. The dock shows all widgets with representative icons.[11] Widgets that do not specify images are either provided with their screen-shot from the official widget gallery or the default widget icon, both shown on the right. When rolled over with the mouse, the dock helps users manage their widgets with buttons to close a widget, show a widget's preferences, and reveal a widget from the head-up display. For users who prefer not to have a dock visible all the time, the dock has options to auto-hide when not active, or even close entirely.

As of Yahoo Widget Engine 4.0, SQLite has been included in the engine, allowing developers to create and modify databases. Also included with 4.0 is the Canvas class, which allows vector drawing. Canvas "images" can be saved to either a JPG or PNG image file. With the introduction of the dock, widgets can set their own dock icons. Dock icons support a small subset of the engine's features, so they have the ability to display multiple images and text. This is useful to widgets designed to be such things as a clock, or a weather forecaster. Also added to text objects is support for simple CSS styles for formatting.[12] Another new feature included in version 4.0 is the ability to automatically check gallery downloaded widgets for updates. Previously only available to official Yahoo Widgets, this feature was enabled for all third-party widget authors on August 17, 2007.[13]

Yahoo Widgets 4.5, released on November 29, 2007, introduced support for both WebKit and Adobe Flash, allowing development of widgets using XML, HTML and JavaScript as well as the capabilities of Flash. The WebKit support does not include plugins, so Flash is supported through the use of a separate native object.[14][15]

On February 10, 2003, Rose and Clarke launched version 1.0 of Konfabulator. Before the launch, Rose created a teaser web site asking visitors what Konfabulator is, while it was still in development. When it was finally released, users of Konfabulator were highly impressed with the idea of widgets, and its popularity soared as a result, something which surprised the developers of Konfabulator. Due to its popularity, Rose and Clarke had to quit their jobs to work on Konfabulator full-time.

In November 2004, Konfabulator 1.8, the first cross-platform version of Konfabulator, was released. The Windows version was capable of seamlessly running most Konfabulator widgets written for the Mac OS X operating system on Windows machines, and vice versa. Some widgets developed later were, however, platform-specific.

A few months later, on May 18, 2005, the first major release of Konfabulator since version 1.0, Konfabulator 2.0 (sometimes shortened to K:2), was released, along with a visual overhaul of widgets, improved functionality, and a marked down price of US$19.95 from the previous US$24.95 (this was after many users, especially Windows users used to the idea of freeware and other cheaper widget engines, complained about the high price). The popularity of Konfabulator accelerated soon after that, and companies were seeking to use Konfabulator in their projects. In response to the demand for Konfabulator, and to provide a proper information source for widget developers (some of whom were scraping web sites for information for their widgets), the Konfabulator development team decided to sell Konfabulator to Yahoo.

Yahoo said the reason they purchased Konfabulator was that they wanted an easy way to open up its APIs to the widget developer community and allow them easy access to the information on the Yahoo Web site. In doing this, widgets could be built without having to scrape or search web sites in order to get information regarding the APIs for widgets and the Konfabulator framework.

Mac OSX - As of 10.11 El Capitan, the Yahoo widget dock no longer functions correctly. However, the dock can be disabled by editing the relevant .plist configuration file and the widgets then become accessible via the menu. Despite this relatively minor limitation, the widgets still operate as expected in previous versions of OSX.

Linux - The Yahoo widget engine was ported to Ubuntu Linux 10.10 and modified to become the Yahoo! Connected TV engine. The linux version is not designed as a standalone widget engine for running widgets on desktop linux but instead uses Ubuntu as the host for an embedded o/s in television sets. However, it is possible to run Ubuntu linux 10.10 on a normal PC and run the Yahoo! Connected TV engine locally for development/testing purposes.

As of May 2016 the popular Yahoo weather widget has stopped functioning. The weather widget was one of Yahoo's most popular widgets as it provided free access to Yahoo's weather feed. Yahoo has modified the manner in which the weather feed is accessed breaking not only the weather widget but all others programs and sites that attempt to use it. Yahoo's updated documentation stated: "To increase the security measure and better serving our YDN customers, weather data source will enforce OAuth 1 starting March 15, 2016. Please update your API calls with OAuth 1 enabled (via the OAuth /v1/yql end point if using YQL) using your Yahoo App key and secret."

As the weather widget is no longer supported, changes to fix the widget will not be carried out by Yahoo employees. However, as all widgets can be decompiled to their original JavaScript source code, the widget could be modified by developers to correspond to Yahoo's modified authorisation requirements or to obtain the data from an alternate weather source. Other widgets have been modified in this manner and already obtain the source data from such alternative feeds as

Twenty-two default widgets are included--including a weather forecaster, a Yahoo Mail manager, a Wi-Fi signal checker, a calendar, and an iTunes remote. Though the true value of the app should be judged on the quality of the widgets developed, the platform itself is polished and easy to use.

A helpful tour introduces users to the basics of widgets, offering up some examples. Adding and removing widgets is simple, and the new widget dock features more personalization options. Most widgets include tweaks such as skinning options. Other new improvements include Windows Alt-Tab menu access and helpful configuration buttons that appear when you mouse over a widget. Unfortunately, the app inserts itself into your start-up programs without asking--but you can fix that in Preferences.

What is a widget? It's basically a gateway on your TV screen to Internet-supplied content in a certain subject area. All TVs with Yahoo widgets can connect to the Internet, and via that connection can populate the widgets with real-time information and updates.


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