Solar Viewer Widget

This week we built our first widget. We decided to build a Yahoo! Widget as opposed to Mac OS X dashboard widget–which obviously wouldn’t work on the PC platform. (We may still port our version to Apple’s OS X dashboard format, we haven’t decided yet.) Yahoo! Widgets work on both.

A widget a small applcations built in Javascript and XML that appear on your desktop. The one we built shows today’s images of the Sun. You can find it in the Sight & Sound Category at Yahoo! Widgets.

It’s been nice to see such a great response. In the less than two days it has been on the Yahoo! Widget page, we’ve had nearly 5,000 downloads.

The Solar Viewer is based on the Flash-based, Sun-Earth Viewer, which we developed with NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum back in 2004.

The images come from NAS/ESA SOHO Mission, NASA’s TRACE Mission, and from the Big Bear Observatory. The images are “grabbed” each hour and stored on a server at UC Berkeley–so that we have one source for these images (as opposed to making requests to multiple servers).
I’ve asked Kevin Silver here at Ideum to put together a post detailing more of the techincal points of widget building. More to come.

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