Dashboard Widget for Designers

June 7, 2005 - 2:00am ||| 1 Comment | Add new

Mac OS X users who've made the plunge to Tiger (10.4.X) are exploring the world of "widgets," useful little programs, that run from Tiger's new Dashboard feature:
http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/dashboard/

A starter set of widgets are included with the Tiger install. They're general purpose ones like a mini-iTunes controller, a unit converter, and a translator. Cutting edge, eh?

Of course, Apple has an agenda. The point of Dashboard widgets is to create an open-source-like hook into OS X. That way the legions of design geeks out there who know a thing or two about XML, CSS and JavaScript (how widgets are written) can develop widgets on their own and release them for the benefit of all Apple-kind. Apple says, "If you know how to create a web page, then you know how to create a capable Widget."

(To learn more about how to create your own widgets, hopefully beyond merely capable, go to http://developer.apple.com/macosx/dashboard.html).

Hundreds of third-party widgets, most of them free, are already available. Apple's collecting all the ones it knows about and categorizing them according to function. You can browse through the widget descriptions and download them here:
http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/

For a more comprehensive list of links to Dashboard/Widget resources, including developers, communities, blogs and tutorials, check out Dori Smith's Dashboard Resources web page. Ms. Smith is the author of Dashboard Widgets for Mac OS Tiger: Visual Quickstart Guide (Peachpit, 2005):
http://www.dori.com/dashboard/

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Type Cast Widget
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After spending a couple hours exploring the world of widgets, I was happy to find at least one that is of immediate use to designers: Type Cast, from Code Line Communications:
http://www.code-line.com/typecast/

Type Cast is a fast way to see some sample type in any of the fonts active in your OS X system. Just jump to the widget and use your keyboard (or mouse) to flip through typefaces, sizes and styles. It tells you the name of the font, its family, and has a shortcut to reveal the font's location in the Finder. And Type Cast is free!

The developer, Code Line, is the same company that developed the Illustrator collect-for-output utility, ArtFiles, and the uber-cool color picker, Color Consultant, both of which I've written about in previous issues of DesignGeek. Links to both of those products are on the Type Cast page.

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More for Designers?
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If you know of any other widgets that are useful for designers, illustrators or publishers, please let me know!

Comments (Subscribe to Comments RSS)

1 January 17, 2013 - 10:31am by Jane Renders (not verified):

Now there’s a good way finally create some widgets of our own with some knowdledge of XML, CSS and JavaScript!
Jane @ Taxi Porto Seguro

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