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How to build a useful iGoogle gadget in 5 minutes

Yesterday evening, Google Portugal was friendly enough to buy me dinner (and to a few other Portuguese geeks/programmers). The subject was iGoogle, presenting the new features (canvas view, advertising, gwt 2.0).

Obviously I wanted to test with something, but during the presentation I only did a small variation of the Hello World gadget before my laptop, netbook and cell phone lost all battery. This morning something clicked. An iGoogle gadget is a simple application. On the web we have a lot of complex, with a specific view that is a simplified version: the mobile version.

So, getting to the office this morning I spent about 20 minutes with the result being 2 working iGoogle gadgets (Pond and Twitter) and an almost working one (Adegga).

For those just wanting to use them, click the following links: Pond and Twitter.

For those wanting to do the same thing, it’s really simple.The example below shows ALL the code of the Pond Gadget:




So, explaining, quickly, in ModulePrefs you’ll find the gadget’s meta-information – in this case, what’s the title of the gadget, where it links to, who’s the author and what’s the height of the window (in this case, chosen to fit all the mobile interface). Then, on the Content, you just put type url (other choices are xml and html) and put on href the url for the mobile version of the site, in this case, http://m.pond.pt/.

And that’s it, happy hacking!

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