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Lots of good Gadget feedback

October 27, 2007

Wow, so much feedback on the Xbox Friends Watch Gadget its crazy.  Major Nelson did end up posting a link to the gadget (thanks Duncan) and the flood gates opened.  47 comments so far on my post, 120 comments on Major Nelson’s, 1,388 views on the demo screencast on Channel 9 and according to my server logs it appears the gadget has been downloaded 2,471 times.

That’s awesome.

But what’s not awesome is the gadget doesn’t run too well.  I originally wrote it as a demo for a presentation and it’s the first sidebar gadget I have written.  I don’t want all of this momentum to go to waste though, especially since the gadget appears like it could be really useful to a lot of people.  My plan is to work on an update that will cover a few of the major bugs/feature requests.

  • Performance – The JavaScript was never optimized and I need to look into the best practices for running with in the Sidebar.
  • Error Handling – another missing important piece.  Currently the render will fail on a Gamer who is in private mode.
  • More than 5 Friends – One person posted a hack to resize the gadget by changing the html, but I think in docked mode a scrollable list would be best.  Then in undocked mode, I’d like to show at at least twice the height, still adding the scroll functionality.
  • Access to the gadget right-click menu – most requested for opacity.
  • and Custom Colors – if everything else goes smoothly (crosses fingers)

And now to address a FAQs:

  • It doesn’t work on 64-bit Vista?
    Unfortunately Silverlight does not provide  64-bit support, but you can run the Sidebar in 32-bit mode if you want to use the gadget by following the instructions Shane posted in the comments.
  • Why Silverlight?
    No it did not have to be Silverlight, but that was the original point of the demo.  Not only am I a big fan of SIlverlight, but you will also find I am a bit biased due to my current position at Microsoft.  Bias aside, I think Silverlight can work really well as the UI for Sidebar Gadgets.

Look for version 1.5 coming soon, I’ll update the original post once its available.

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