Which came first?

A few folks have commented here and on the Microsoft Gadgets site that I should take a moment to acknowledge other players in the mini-app space who were “there first”. Heated conversations have been seen between extreme fans of different platforms claiming they were there first or accusations of copying. I’m not going to get into revisionist history. But what I will say is this:

Stardock, Konfabulator, and Apple all have their own takes on mini-applications, as do many others. Each has it’s strengths. Whether they’re called “Widgets”, “Gadgets”, “Tiles”, “Parts”, or “Sprockets” doesn’t matter. Did anyone notice that the term “Dashboard” was first coined in MSN’s interpretation of Sidebar back in 2001? It doesn’t matter. Each has its own interpretation of the concept. No one platform will appeal to all, and every platform can be improved.

At the end of the day, we want to make great software that’s useful and “sticky”. If you want to be a part of that, to have your feedback heard, to criticize or question design decisions- that’s great! Our model will involve working directly with the community in a more transparent way. We won’t be making decisions by committee, but we will be actively engaging you in the conversation if you want to be a part of it. And that’s my last comment on the topic. 🙂

5 comments

  1. Kenn Essig says:

    Every day the negative comments fly about what idea was copied from whom, or this product sucks, etc. Do not pass judgment until you have tried the product. Software development is not an instant drink mix; “just add water”. Software development takes time and advance planning of the actual coding. I am a software developer and it took almost a year before our application was fully realized. It is great that Microsoft is getting into the “mini desktop app” department. I am currently using Konfabulator and like it a lot. A lot of good ideas are going into Windows Vista; gadgets, window transparencies, vector based graphics, dynamic icons, and WinFS when it is released at a future date. Let’s have an intelligent debate and not mud slinging contest. The bottom line is more competition equals better products. The best thing to happen to Yahoo was Google.

    Regards,
    Kenn Essig

  2. karl says:

    Well, since we’re talking about being there first what about HP’s Dashboard for windows 3.1 back in 92? http://home.comcast.net/~mernykdesign/BgHP3.htm

    Surely the ability to have users "plugin" their own code to it was/is only an evolutionary step. I also don’t understand this need to say who was copying who? Everybody is influenced by something/somebody else, but this influence is what enables people to take good ideas and make them better.

    my $.02 cdn.

  3. Samuel says:

    Highly crafty and intriguing article. It highlights the intricate relationship between the subject and its essence. It is highly informative.

  4. Robert says:

    Intellectually drafted article. seems to grab attention at once.The writer has a good knowledge of the subject and makes reading interesting.

  5. Brad Wardell says:

    I tend to get a little frustrated with Mac users because they seem to have mastered the art of "retroactive invention". That is, once Apple has finally decided to do something, its armies of followers decide that Apple must have come up with it and declare all others — existing or non-existing must have copied it from them.

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