Beginning Mac OS X Tiger Dashboard Widget Development

Overview

Dashboard widgets bring local and global information to the Tiger desktop by giving you the information you need with a simple keystroke. However, there is much more to a Dashboard widget than HTML. Cascading Sheets (CSS) provide widgets with and layout while JavaScript makes the widget dynamic and provides user interaction. In this book, Fred Terry examines how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript join forces with the OS X filesystem abilities to provide widgets with the look and feel of ...

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Overview

Dashboard widgets bring local and global information to the Tiger desktop by giving you the information you need with a simple keystroke. However, there is much more to a Dashboard widget than HTML. Cascading Sheets (CSS) provide widgets with and layout while JavaScript makes the widget dynamic and provides user interaction. In this book, Fred Terry examines how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript join forces with the OS X filesystem abilities to provide widgets with the look and feel of a standalone application.

The featured examples will help you gain an understanding of the elements and construction of Dashboard widgets, while many chapters end with a set of exercises that reinforce what you've learned. You'll quickly find all the information you need to begin developing and sharing widgets.

What you will learn from this book

  • How Dashboard widgets are an integral part of Tiger
  • The different development environment options available
  • How to use logging, printing, and JavaScript console in Safari to debug your widget
  • The activation, control, and focus events that provide the widget with a Mac-like user interface
  • The access keys that allow a widget to incorporate command-line utilities and network resources.

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who wants to create Dashboard widgets or modify existing ones. A basic understanding of a scripting or programming language is beneficial.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) users have discovered the power and coolness of the Dashboard, which can bring you just the right information, when you need it, from wherever it might be: the Web, your network, your Mac. But you needn’t settle for Apple’s 14 built-in Dashboard widgets: You can create your own. With help from Fred Terry’s book, it’s surprisingly easy -- especially if you know your way around HTML, CSS, and a bit of JavaScript.

Terry starts by explaining what widgets are, how they work, what they’re good for (and not good for). Next, he tears open one of Apple’s example widgets, showing how it’s built from multiple source and image files, and how those files are bundled into something executable.

You’ll explore Apple’s tools for creating, assembling, and testing widgets (along with some third-party alternatives); then walk through building your first simple widget. Terry then introduces a series of techniques for providing user interaction. You’ll master widget events; flesh out your interface; add cut, copy and paste (and drag/drop too, if you like). Throughout, Terry utilizes Wrox’s effective “Try It Out” format: whenever he introduces a new element or technique, he follows up immediately with step-by-step instructions for applying it in an example.

The heart of the book is its projects section: six chapter-length projects, plus a batch of shorter ones. Among the highlights: a handy envelope printing widget, a “secure copy” function, and a widget that’ll search a leading music site for album art, then import the art into selected iTunes tracks. Bill Camarda, from the August 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471778257
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/19/2006
  • Series: Wrox Beginning Guides Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred Terry has been involved in the computer industry since making a left-hand turn into it from Ph.D. work in medieval languages and literature. He has written a number of software manuals and articles and has worked as a systems and network administrator, web developer, programmer, and quality assurance engineer. In addition to his ongoing love affairs with AppleScript and Perl, his current programming infatuations are Ruby and Ajax. Currently, Fred is a project manager for the Information Management Group at Burns & McDonnell. He has a B.A. in English from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and an M.A. in English from Oklahoma State University. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his family and dog. Fred can be contacted at pfterry@deadtrees.net.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Tiger, dashboard, and widgets 3
Ch. 2 The basics of widgetry 15
Ch. 3 Widget development environment 35
Ch. 4 Creating a widget 55
Ch. 5 Debugging and testing 77
Ch. 6 Giving a widget preferences 91
Ch. 7 Widget events 113
Ch. 8 Adding to the widget interface 129
Ch. 9 Adding cut, copy, and paste to your widget 153
Ch. 10 Adding drag and drop to the widget 159
Ch. 11 Access keys 169
Ch. 12 Using plugins and applets 183
Ch. 13 Easy envelopes 199
Ch. 14 SecureCopy widget 211
Ch. 15 Amazon album art 225
Ch. 16 Timbuktu quick connect 241
Ch. 17 iPhoto mini 253
Ch. 18 iTunes connection monitor 265
Ch. 19 More widgets 275
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