Sidebar Geek

My experience with Windows Vista. Windows Sidebar and Microsoft Gadgets.

Feature Preview: Windows Sidebar

Build 5308, or the February CTP, gives testers their first chance to play with the long sought after Windows Sidebar and Desktop Gadgets. This feature has been one of my most watched features of Windows Vista. And finally, I can now experience it.

Windows Sidebar is an application that allows the use of Desktop Gadgets, which are in many ways mini-applications. These Gadgets are created by a combination of XML, CSS, and Java Script. In Windows Sidebar, you can use the "Gadget Picker" to add Gadgets to your Sidebar, or "pin" them. You can also drag your Gadgets off your Sidebar onto any place on your desktop. Windows Sidebar also allows multiple "blades" of Gadgets pinned to it. You can flip through each blade of the Sidebar as if they were pages simply blick clicking the arrows at the bottom of the Sidebar.

You can also change individual settings on each Gadget. For example you can choose which folder the Slideshow Gadget looks for its photos or choose a specific RSS Feed you want to display on the RSS Gadget from the Microsoft RSS Feed Store.

Windows Sidebar itself also offers a variety of settings to personalize your Sidebar and Gadgets just the way you want them. You can choose which monitor your Sidebar is displayed on (if you are using a dual monitor set up). You can also "kill" a Gadget if the Gadget is causing you problems. Windows Sidebar is, by default, not configured to start up when Windows Vista boots up but this can be changed. If you have a widescreen monitor, you can also make Sidebar stay on top so its right next to any application you open up viewable at all times.

What is the ultimate goal of Windows Sidebar you may ask? Its to allow the user to keep an organized view of their Desktop Gadgets.

Screenshot: Windows Sidebar on the Desktop
Screenshot: Adding Gadgets to the Sidebar
Screenshot: Gadgets floating on the Desktop
Screenshot: Settings for the RSS Gadget
Screenshot: Inside a Gadget folder
Screenshot: Gadget Code (XML)
Screenshot: Windows Sidebar Settings

More Gadgets will eventually be available to download as time progresses. Both Microsoft as well as other developers will begin offering downloadable Gadgets from MicrosoftGadgets.com.

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Comments

  • Sidebar Geek said:
    Today I've put online my latest Feature Preview for Windows Sidebar. You can check out my earlier Feature...
    February 24, 2006 2:25 AM
  • Sidebar Geek said:
    Today I've put online my latest Feature Preview for Windows Sidebar (with screenshots). You can...
    February 24, 2006 2:38 AM
  • Windows Sidebar is an application that allows the use of Desktop Gadgets, which are in many ways mini-applications....
    February 25, 2006 7:20 PM
  • The Windows Sidebar technology is back in the latest Vista CTP build, I'm still to be totally convinced...
    February 28, 2006 4:42 PM

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