Chapter 11. Windows Sidebars and Gadgets

Windows Vista brings with it a range of new features for both users and developers. One new feature is the Windows Sidebar (see Figure 11-1). Windows Sidebar is the application that allows users to run gadgets on the Windows desktop or docked together as part of the Sidebar window. It also allows users to manage gadgets in the Gadget Gallery.

Figure 11-1

Figure 11-1. Figure 11-1

Gadgets might seem complicated at first but they're not (well, they can be but that depends on what you want the gadget to do). Gadgets are created using two things that VBScript developers know well: HTML and script. Gadgets have access to information about their own state and settings as well as about Windows (see Figure 11-2). This means that a gadget can interact with files and folders on the host system. Gadgets can also display settings dialog boxes and store user-specific settings using the System.Gadget object.

Figure 11-2

Figure 11-2. Figure 11-2

Gadget Basics

All gadgets available for the Sidebar are files that are present on the local computer. If users want more gadgets, they have to be downloaded from the web, email, or by allowing applications to install them. Gadgets are packaged in a .gadget file (later you'll discover that this is a renamed .zip file), and users install the gadget ...

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