Opera Widgets: Mobile Applications Made With Web Standards

Another standard that Opera is involved with is the Widgets specification. Widgets are standalone applications that are made with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They are zipped up with an XML configuration file that describes their size on the screen, or whether they're full screen, whether they can connect to the Internet etc. The zipped file is renamed .wgt and then they can be sent to a mobile phone (or Archos tablet, Nintendo Wii, Web TV, or anything else). The device's Widget Manager then unzips them and installs them automatically.

What's great about this is that it allows developer to make web-enabled applications that can look like native apps, but which are made with Web Standards. And, because they're made with Standards, they work anywhere that can support a full web browser.

Opera has released a full Widgets SDK and documentation, together with a Widget repository—think free appstore—so you can try them out and get inspiration for your own Widget. You can also see how Carsonified made their Twiggy Widget.

At the moment, they're supported by Opera desktop, Opera for devices and Opera Mobile. Once the W3C specification is completed, we will amend our implementation to follow the Open Standard and expect other browser vendors to support them.

The mobile phone industry is very interested in Widgets. Vodafone Netherlands recently ran a Widgets development camp in Amsterdam to get developers making Widgets prior to their launch of a Vodafone appstore, which will allow developers to charge money for their work.

Today, Vodafone have announced their Summer of Widgets competition:

Each WEEK during the Vodafone and Betavine Summer of Widgets competition, three prize packages of a Samsung NC 20 Netbook bundled with a Nokia N96 handset will be awarded to the three best new widgets.

Even if you don’t win you can still feature your app in our Apps Shop live in eight countries across Europe! The competition starts on 6th July so that's three bundles, every week for the next eight weeks.