Thursday, February 28, 2008

Building A Widget Dashboard

For me (and obviously a lot of other people based on the number of searches on Planet Lotus), widgets are one of the most compelling new features of 8.0.1. Version 8 is all about embracing the idea of performing tasks within the context of your work and the concept of widgets and Live Text is going to allow us to take this idea to a whole new level.

I've seen some good initial references on creating widgets and actually created a quick primer myself for one of my customers. What I haven't seen yet is someone show another really cool feature: the ability to generate a widget dashboard.

Let's say you've configured some widgets that all use the same identifier. For example, I've wired widgets for Google, Wikipedia and Hoovers to "Organization", which is one of the built in Content Types that Notes recognizes for Live Text. Whenever I open a message and a company name is recognized (such as "IBM"), it is highlighted by Live Text and I can click on the name to invoke my default widget or right click to see my list of widget options. Here's what it looks like:

So this is a screen shot from my signature and you can see that Live Text has recognized my name, my company, and my phone number. When I right-click on the company name, the context menu shows me the three actions that I have wired to this content type, "Company Information from Hoover's", "Wikipedia" and "Google". Also notice that a forth option appears underneath all of these. This option, "Build a Dashboard...", allows me to see the results of more than one of the widgets all at once. If you select this option, you are prompted for the Actions you want to use in building the dashboard.

In this example, I'll select all three. Once I click OK, the dashboard is displayed as you see below. This is all built in...there's nothing else you need to do. Très Chic!

Another way you can create a Widget Dashboard is to select multiple widgets in the "My Widgets" panel then right-click on one of them and select "Open in a Dashboard". This will create a multi-widget dashboard window for you. Once in the dashboard, you can manipulate the positions of the widgets, resize them, etc.

The Widget Dashboard is another very useful feature of widgets and allows me to be even more productive in the work I do. In my next post, I'll explain how I wire multiple actions using the Widget Management panel.

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