Getting free widgets downloads is becoming easier and easier every day. These days, it's not only a matter of finding the widget you want, but choosing which version you prefer. Here are some rough guidelines on the world of widgets.
Which Widget Would You Like?
There are widgets for every kind of computer and every operating system. A "widget" is actually a clever little name for a clever little program, an autonomous and independent application that runs unobtrusively on your computer and usually does only one thing, but does it well.
That "one thing" is limited only by a programmer's imagination - any widget is basically the answer to someone saying "I wish that I could…" or "I wish that I knew…" The next thing you know, there's a widget to let you know how to do measurement conversions, or accessing Facebook, or putting sticky notes on your desktop. There are literally thousands of widgets available to do any number of things.
Choosing Your Widget Platform
The first step in securing your free widgets downloads is not browsing through widgets, but determining which system of widgets you're going to use. There are many different kinds:
- Apple Computer set the standard early on by integrating widgets (which used to be made by a company called Konfabulator) into their operating system.
- Yahoo! followed suit by creating a whole suite of widgets that run within a framework application that works on both Mac and Windows.
- Google has also released a widget framework they call gadgets.
Downloading and installing widgets from any of these companies is very easy and transparent. It's usually as easy as downloading them, double clicking the file, and then following the prompts. Sometimes (such as with Yahoo! or some Windows widgets frameworks) you may have to install a larger program to run the widgets on, but that is also usually unobtrusive and, if you download from a trusted source, free of malware and viruses.
From a web designer's perspective, there are many tasks that these desktop widgets can help with, such as displaying server uptime, making FTP uploads quick and easy, or processing images into web-friendly formats simply by dragging-and-dropping.
If you find a widget that you like but that doesn't run on your computer, odds are there is a similar one that works on the programs you 'can' use. Google, typically, works on just about anything, since it can be web based. However, the Google gadgets phenomenon of being run either within a web browser or separately on a computer brings up another factor in choosing widgets: sometimes the name doesn't mean what you think it does.
Free Widgets Downloads for Websites
The good news is that these widgets are also usually free, though you have to have some familiarity with the dashboard of your particular blogging client to make them work. Usually these widgets have some basic configuration parameters, but like the desktop widgets, they are designed to be fairly independent and self-sufficient - enabling the visitor to the blog to easily access whatever information is contained in it. Common widgets integrate with things like a Flickr account (showing a rotating and up-to-date slideshow), playing a recent podcast right there in the webpage, searching Dogpile, or enabling the visitor to make a comment quickly and easily.
Where to Find Widget Downloads
All of the above links will take you to reliable sources for free widgets, or widgets at a very low cost (before you pay, look to see if a free version that does the same thing is available; it often is). There are also sites such as CNET that provide regular reviews of the top new widgets, usually with download links included.
And of course there are widgets that will let you know when new widgets are created, so there's no reason to ever be without your free widgets downloads.