Those familiar with widgets and Google gadgets are aware of a problem specific to gadgets designed for a blog. Often blog gadgets are vertically orientated for use in sidebars. But when someone searches for a gadget, there is no indication of if a gadget is vertically or horizontally orientated. This is particularly true with Google gadgets and Blogger. I would estimate that 80 percent of Google gadgets do not fit into a Blogger sidebar and end up being cutoff and unusable.
For example the Expedia Google gadget has a version for blogger (image on right) that fits in a Blogger side bar correctly. Needing two gadgets for one platform (in this case Google) is an inelegant solution.
TypePad has a great solution to this problem, they only list widgets that work and have been designed for TypePad blogs.
The TypePad widget system is very proprietary, but I think it is a great solution. Unlike other widget platforms, TypePad requires that a gadget information or detail page exist on a third party website. This means that to create a widget for TypePad, you must put some thought in it, and it must function specifically for Typepad.
To see what I am talking about, let’s look at the Expedia widget for Typepad. It is hosted on a third party page (Gadzi)…
As a developer of a gadget for TypePad you must have some pretty specific stuff on the widget description page, because the “add this widget” button has to integrate with the TypePad widget installation system. It does not work or function if the user does not have a TypePad blog. Here is what a directory listing looks like for a real estate widget I did for FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
As a user adding a widget, the process is pretty simple. The user clicks the “Add Expedia to your blog” button and is taken to their blogs control panel where they can preview the widget and install it to their sidebar.
This means that TypePad has a widget directory that is fully functional and any widget the user chooses from that directory will actually work correctly.
I am waiting for a response to an email I sent to the Six Apart / TypePad media contact prior to doing a full description of this platform, I will however create a tutorial for those interested in creating TypePad widgets.