Glossitope – An Open-Source Java-based Widget Container

Joshua Marinacci and Robert Cooper presented on Glossitope, a Java-based widget Container. Glossitope was originally named AB5k. Joshua is also the founder and lead of the XHTML Renderer project which is code named Flying Saucer. As good of a coder Joshua is, he is horrible at naming projects!

A widget, also known as gadget, is a small and simple program that lives and runs in a manager container. As Joshua said, they do “a lot of useful awesome little things.” The OS X Dashboard widget system comes with a calendar, date, and calculator widget. Independent developers have released all times of widgets such as RSS reader and weather widgets that there is a growing widget economy.

There are a few other widget systems other there such as Google Gadgets for the web, Dashboard for the OS X, and Yahoo! provides widgets for the desktop as a third-party application. Even with all these widget systems, Joshua and Robert see issues with them all, such as they use an XML-based markup and lack a real programming language. These ‘issues’ sound surprisingly similar to the ones presented by Chris Oliver for his motivation for JavaFX Script. Another common reason used for both the JavaFX Script and Glossitope projects is large number of Java libraries. Joshua also reminded the audience that Glossitope has immediate support for a myriad of languages such as JRuby, JavaFX Script, and French (via Unicode).

Joshua also mentioned that it is his hope to be able to support widgets written for other systems like Yahoo! or Google. He also hopes that Glossitope will be the standard widget system for Linux distributions. As a call for action, he asked the audience to write more widgets targeted for Glossitope. To demonstrate the limitless ability of Glossitope, Joshua demoed a 3D widget using JOGL! Glossitope is very alpha and still throws the occasional exception here and there but still worth the look.

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