One of the hottest topics to come out of Apple’s recent World Wide Developers Conference was the announcement of Dashboard, a new feature in the forthcoming OS X Tiger which adds a layer of useful mini-applications (aka “widgets”) to the user’s desktop. This in itself is not a new idea: the Mac had Desk Ornaments way back in 1984 while the impressive shareware application Konfabulator has provided Dashboard style functionality on OS X for some time. As an aside, for a good debunking of the “Dashboard rips off Konfabulator” meme look no further than Daring Fireball.
What’s really exciting about Dashboard is the way widgets are written. Unlike Konfabulator, where widget layouts are defined using a simple XML dialect, Dashboard widgets are written in HTML and CSS and rendered using Safari’s WebKit engine! They’re essentially mini-web pages, liberated from the browser. Dave Hyatt of the Safari team has a series of entries (1, 2 and 3) with more details.
One thing’s for sure: skills with web technologies are becoming more and more useful.