Widget Bashing

Last week JISC CETIS put on a WidgetBash event. OSS Watch pitched in since W3C Widgets are an area we are particularly interested in having taken some code from the University of Bolton into the Apache Software Foundations incubator as Apache Wookie (incubating).

This two day event focused on getting people up to speed on building widgets. Our approach was to give some very light touch training and then get our hands dirty on code. Overall the two days were extremely successful.

in the run up to the event I had committed a few new widget templates to Wookie in order to make it easy for people to get started. This turned out to be a great tactic. Some attendees used these templates as a base for their work, looking to enhance them, one attendee even submitted a patch to fix an error in my work (which I have now committed to the project, thanks Sam Rowley). Another attendee reported that one of the tutorials was misleading (another issue I have now addressed, thanks Simon Booth).

A team from the Manchester Metropolitan University enhanced a widget they had already created to tell students which labs had available PCs in them. Now it’s a fully geo-locating widget that sorts the results by proximity to the users position (interestingly using the tutorial Simon helped us improve). Another team from Strathclyde enhanced the Moodle Plugin for Wookie; now widgets are able to get a little more context from Moodle and thus provide more targeted information to the user. We hope to see patches and contributions from both these teams.

Many other participants who had never build widgets before reported that they’d learned a great deal. There were plenty of “almost working” enhancements to our templates as well as completely new widgets. Again, I look forward to applying their patches.

Why not come and join us on the Wookie project and find out what it’s all about.

You can read more about the two days on Sheila’s blog.

2 thoughts on “Widget Bashing

  1. Hi Ross

    Thanks for taking part, it really was a great two days and I hope that the momentum continues.

    Sheila

  2. Widets and apps seem to be taking over from older programs like windows. I would like to start building some widgets for my own site but I cant seem to find any template software. Is there any such thing? I have found widgetbox but they want a monthly subscription. Would love to get some advice here and I will take a look at the Wookie project.

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