Yahoo Konfabulator

Quick look

Mini-applications for the desktop

Price: Free

Phone: (408) 349-3300

Yahoo Konfabulator

Even though it is called a 'desktop,' the backdrop display on your PC certainly doesn't have very many of the handy tools usually found on top of your actual desk. Where are the virtual equivalents of staplers and tape dispensers?

Now Yahoo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., offers a collection of small, useful utilities called Yahoo Widgets that can sit on your desktop space. These mini-applications do simple tasks such as display a monthly calendar or local weather forecasts. The applications all run on a platform called Konfabulator, which you can also use to run your own widgets.

Unlike regular applications, the mini-apps do not take up space on the taskbar. Rather, they sit on the desktop background and can be viewed when other applications are minimized. As such, you can glance at them in between tasks.

The best ones, in our opinion, pull live information from the Web. One fetches stock prices of companies you select; another can look up words in an online dictionary. The download comes with about a dozen widgets and you can peruse the hundreds of others, mostly written by volunteers, at the Konfabulator Web site.

Building your own widgets involves working with a mixture of JavaScript and the Extensible Markup Language. The Konfabulator platform offers a slick user interface, one that resembles Mac OS X's Dashboard in look and feel. Konfabulator works with both OS X and Microsoft Windows.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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