Dashboard

tubedogg

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Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
Maybe I am missing something, and excuse me if this has been addressed in this forum before, but how exactly is Dashboard better than Konfabulator? I am talking from a user's perspective. From what I can tell in the Tiger tour video, the widgets only appear when you are in (for lack of an official name) "Dashboard mode", i.e. you punch an F button, the desktop dims and you have the widgets there. Is this correct, or do the widgets actually show up on the desktop all the time? It seems useless to me if they aren't permanent desktop residents. (I also wonder how this would affect widgets like the way Konfab allows you to drag-and-drop stuff onto widgets for purposes such as creating archives etc.)

(All of the above said, the translate-as-you-type widget is pretty nifty :D)
 

atari1356

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Feb 27, 2004
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tubedogg said:
From what I can tell in the Tiger tour video, the widgets only appear when you are in (for lack of an official name) "Dashboard mode", i.e. you punch an F button, the desktop dims and you have the widgets there. Is this correct, or do the widgets actually show up on the desktop all the time? It seems useless to me if they aren't permanent desktop residents.
The widgets only show up when you press the proper function key... but that's what makes it so useful. :) Anytime you need a calculator, for example, you just press the function key and there it is, almost instantly. When you're done using it, press the function key again and you're back to the application you were working in -- and the clutter of all the widgets disappears.

A "permanent desktop resident" sounds just like a normal application to me. I think the idea with Dashboard is to take those small utilitarian apps (calculator, stickies, etc.) and move them off of the screen to reduce clutter, but have them instantly available when you need them.
 

dejo

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Sep 2, 2004
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Plus, Dashboard widgets are built using HTML, Javascript and CSS, so it will be relatively easy to build your own. I, for one, hope to build a stock quote ticker, complete with scrolling, that pulls up-to-date, real-time quotes from my brokerage account, rather than delayed by 20 minutes.
 

SuperChuck

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Nov 15, 2003
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dejo said:
Plus, Dashboard widgets are built using HTML, Javascript and CSS, so it will be relatively easy to build your own. I, for one, hope to build a stock quote ticker, complete with scrolling, that pulls up-to-date, real-time quotes from my brokerage account, rather than delayed by 20 minutes.
I didn't know about that! How cool. I can't wait to build some.
 

munkle

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Aug 7, 2004
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atari1356 said:
The widgets only show up when you press the proper function key... but that's what makes it so useful. :) Anytime you need a calculator, for example, you just press the function key and there it is, almost instantly. When you're done using it, press the function key again and you're back to the application you were working in -- and the clutter of all the widgets disappears.

A "permanent desktop resident" sounds just like a normal application to me. I think the idea with Dashboard is to take those small utilitarian apps (calculator, stickies, etc.) and move them off of the screen to reduce clutter, but have them instantly available when you need them.
Konfabulator has that now with Konsposé...Apple stole that idea from them too! ;) :p
 

SuperChuck

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Nov 15, 2003
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dejo said:
Just curious, SuperChuck. Do you have any ideas of what kind of Dashboard widgets you'd like to build?
Well, as a web designer, it would be cool to build a widget for clients that alerts them when they have a new order to fill, support request, etc. Too bad most of my clients don't have Macs.
 

tubedogg

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Original poster
Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
atari1356 said:
A "permanent desktop resident" sounds just like a normal application to me. I think the idea with Dashboard is to take those small utilitarian apps (calculator, stickies, etc.) and move them off of the screen to reduce clutter, but have them instantly available when you need them.
You obviously haven't tried Konfabulator. :p For example, I use The Weather and World Timeclock Pro (think that's what it's called) on my primary PC. Most of my windows are sized and arranged such that the widgets on the desktop are nearly always visible. I don't have to press a button or anything to get at them, they're just there for me to glance at. I don't see the point of having to press an extra button to make them appear. For some things, i.e. calculator, the games that you can create as widgets, etc., that makes sense, and that's why Konspose makes sense, but for the basic widgets being able to see them all the time is what makes them useful.
 

tubedogg

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Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
dejo said:
Plus, Dashboard widgets are built using HTML, Javascript and CSS, so it will be relatively easy to build your own. I, for one, hope to build a stock quote ticker, complete with scrolling, that pulls up-to-date, real-time quotes from my brokerage account, rather than delayed by 20 minutes.
Yeah that is the one part they bettered Konfab on.
 

atari1356

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Feb 27, 2004
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tubedogg said:
You obviously haven't tried Konfabulator. :p For example, I use The Weather and World Timeclock Pro (think that's what it's called) on my primary PC. Most of my windows are sized and arranged such that the widgets on the desktop are nearly always visible. I don't have to press a button or anything to get at them, they're just there for me to glance at. I don't see the point of having to press an extra button to make them appear. For some things, i.e. calculator, the games that you can create as widgets, etc., that makes sense, and that's why Konspose makes sense, but for the basic widgets being able to see them all the time is what makes them useful.
Actually, I have tried Konfabulator.

I didn't find it all that useful, since it seemed to hog too many resources... and at the time I tried it, there was no Konspose, so half the time the widgets were stuck behind whatever application I was using (like a web browser window).

Maybe if I had a 23" or 30" monitor and had the screen real estate for a bunch of widgets I would have thought differently, but... for me the way Dashboard works makes more sense.

For now, I use Son of Weather Grok if I want to check the weather. It's free. Konfabulator is not. :p
 

Jovian9

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Feb 19, 2003
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Plus Dashboard is being built by Apple to run with Tiger......which means it shouldn't hog your CPU.
I've tried Konfabulator on a 17" 1GHz G4 iMac 768MB RAM, 17" PB 1.33GHz 1GB RAM, and a 1.8GHz G5 iMac 1.5GB RAM and Konfabulator hogged my CPU. I wanted to buy it (so I could get used to using it while waiting for Tiger) but it was too awful to have running on my Macs.
 

SuperChuck

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Nov 15, 2003
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I'd wager money that the Konfabulator team was hired by Apple to develop Dashboard. If they weren't, I imagine Apple made the offer. Apple has a pretty good record of hiring software developers to work on the software that will make their own obsolete.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
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LaLaLand, CA
SuperChuck said:
I'd wager money that the Konfabulator team was hired by Apple to develop Dashboard. If they weren't, I imagine Apple made the offer. Apple has a pretty good record of hiring software developers to work on the software that will make their own obsolete.
Other way around. Arlo Rose used to work for Apple. There was a big controversy because it looked like Apple ripped them off... until we were reminded of a program called Desk Accessories back in the day. Daring Fireball has a good article on it.

But yeah, they do. They offered the developer of Watson a job. He turned them down. Same with Audion after they bought SoundJam.
 

Logik

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Apr 24, 2004
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atari1356 said:
The widgets only show up when you press the proper function key... but that's what makes it so useful. :) Anytime you need a calculator, for example, you just press the function key and there it is, almost instantly. When you're done using it, press the function key again and you're back to the application you were working in -- and the clutter of all the widgets disappears.

A "permanent desktop resident" sounds just like a normal application to me. I think the idea with Dashboard is to take those small utilitarian apps (calculator, stickies, etc.) and move them off of the screen to reduce clutter, but have them instantly available when you need them.
this is exactly how i use Konfab. I bought a windows license and skipped on the mac license because i was waiting for dashboard... since i'm buying tiger i didn't see the point in spending $25 on konfab when all i needed was Konspose... and dashboard does exactly that... however no dashboard for windows so i bought konfab.. works well for me :)
 

tubedogg

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Original poster
Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
I've just been watching the MWSF keynote (finally got it to work!) and the part where Steve is showing off the widgets they've built is playing. Explain this to me...why would you do the following?
1. Hit a function key to enter Dashboard mode
2. Use the mini iTunes controller
3. Hit a function key to return to your app
Wouldn't it be infinitely simpler to use the existing mini player that resides on the desktop, or use one of the third-party apps that puts it in the menu bar? What is the purpose of having to enter Dashboard mode to use the iTunes controller? It's like they like the widget ideas (there are dozens of iTunes controllers for Konfab) but don't understand that a big part of what makes them useful (especially in this particular case) is that they are always at hand.
 

g.money

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Jun 23, 2003
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Toronto, Canada
it's supposed to feel like exposé

I think the idea behiind "press a function key" is that it is meant to be used like exposé. Exposé is originally desginated for use with a function key, but you can assign screen corners as well (i have 3 corners set up for it). My guess is that you can also assign a corner for dashboard to pop up (I have one corner left with dashboard's name all over it ;) ).

That's beauty of it -- just as easy and useful as exposé.
 

Chaszmyr

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Aug 9, 2002
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dejo said:
Plus, Dashboard widgets are built using HTML, Javascript and CSS, so it will be relatively easy to build your own.
This is true, but it's really more than that. Dashboard widgets are actually somewhat more difficult to program than Konfabulator widgets, but they are a LOT more powerful.

Dashboard isn't just HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.. it uses the same webkit that Safari does... Which means it's HTML, JavaScript, CSS, XML, Flash, etc etc... Anything that you can put on a webpage can be put in a Dashboard widget, in theory.
 

rendezvouscp

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tubedogg, the iTunes controller is there because it's not only an example, but let's say you're looking at stocks and the weather, or doing multiple things in Dashboard. Woah, new song, really loud (or really soft), I need to control it! Ok, that was dramatic, but the iTunes controller allows you to change the song or the volume so that you don't have to exit Dashboard, find the iTunes controller, control it, and go back into Dashboard and figure out what you were doing. That's a very dramatic version of what could be real life, but I think you get the point.
-Chase
 

dejo

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Chaszmyr said:
This is true, but it's really more than that. Dashboard widgets are actually somewhat more difficult to program than Konfabulator widgets, but they are a LOT more powerful.

Dashboard isn't just HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.. it uses the same webkit that Safari does... Which means it's HTML, JavaScript, CSS, XML, Flash, etc etc... Anything that you can put on a webpage can be put in a Dashboard widget, in theory.
Well, I'll have to take your word for it. I made my comment based on what's on Apple website. I don't have access to the Dashboard SDK, yet. Waiting for the release of Tiger...
 

GodBless

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Jan 22, 2005
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dejo said:
Well, I'll have to take your word for it. I made my comment based on what's on Apple website. I don't have access to the Dashboard SDK, yet. Waiting for the release of Tiger...
You don't need Tiger to know that Dashboard is based on Web Kit technologies. You can get the information strait from http://developer.apple.com/macosx/tiger/dashboard.html on the apple web site (along with a lot of other cool Dashboard information too :cool: ).

Also checkout The Dashboarder (http://www.thedashboarder.com/) for some really cool third party Widgets. They claim that they have the "most complete archive of Apple Dashboard Widgets on the internet" (and I think they are right ;) ). The coolest thing about the Widgets is that you can download the Widget zip files from the site and open the html Widget files (that come with each of the zip files) and preview the actual Widgets right in your browser! No Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger needed. Although not too many of the Widgets are really good as of yet I'm sure they will get better as time goes on.

All you Windows users should checkout the solitaire Widget :D .
 

Pittsax

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Dec 8, 2004
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g.money said:
I think the idea behiind "press a function key" is that it is meant to be used like exposé. Exposé is originally desginated for use with a function key, but you can assign screen corners as well (i have 3 corners set up for it). My guess is that you can also assign a corner for dashboard to pop up (I have one corner left with dashboard's name all over it ;) ).

That's beauty of it -- just as easy and useful as exposé.
In the keynote presentation, Steve kept using an icon in the dock to activate Dashboard. Does this have to be there? I have enough crap in my dock as it is :rolleyes:

Also, does anyone know if Dashboard will have the same option as Konfabulator to choose whether your widgets will appear all the time, or only when you press a button? Some things are fine to have on screen all the time, but other things are only needed occasionally. This is one thing Konfabulator does very well.
 

tubedogg

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Dec 18, 2003
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Minnesota
Pittsax said:
Also, does anyone know if Dashboard will have the same option as Konfabulator to choose whether your widgets will appear all the time, or only when you press a button? Some things are fine to have on screen all the time, but other things are only needed occasionally. This is one thing Konfabulator does very well.
Actually Dashboard decides for you that you don't want anything on the screen all the time. The widgets only appear after you've pressed the hotkey or clicked the Dashboard icon, and they will go away once you leave that "Dashboard" mode. No widgets stay on your desktop as they do in Konfabulator.
 

Pittsax

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Dec 8, 2004
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Toronto, Ontario
tubedogg said:
Actually Dashboard decides for you that you don't want anything on the screen all the time. The widgets only appear after you've pressed the hotkey or clicked the Dashboard icon, and they will go away once you leave that "Dashboard" mode. No widgets stay on your desktop as they do in Konfabulator.
That's a real bummer....
 

rendezvouscp

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Aug 20, 2003
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Pittsax said:
That's a real bummer....
Naw, that's the beauty of Dashboard! While some will prefer Konfabulator, Dashboard is for the people who don't want to see their widgets all the time. In just one key press, you can look at any information you want, and dismiss it too (try it with Exposé, you'll see it only takes one key if you hold it down)! Neat freaks and other users will love how Dashboard doesn't get in your way and is only there when you need it.
-Chase