Widgets, and Gadgets and Webcasts, oh my!


This weekend will see the release of the latest enhancement to JOY 94.9's online presence. Over the past month or so I've been developing an Apple Dashboard widget that lets you keep JOY's web stream playing in the background while using your Mac. It's been a type of pet project of mine, one that I've wanted to do for a long time now, ever since I bought a Mac in fact.

When I began work on the widget I made a commitment to myself that I would start small. Because it's volunteer work, I didn't want to spend too much time on functionality that would end up not being valuable. I'm also interested to find out how popular the widget is before I invest more time into making it better.

It provides two functions in this 0.9 beta version:

  • Listen live, with a very simple play / stop button

  • An updated display of what show's on now, and what's coming up next It sources the program information from the front page of the website, running a relatively simple regular expression over the contents to find the program name and the URL of the program's web page.

The widget will hopefully be included in this weekend's web update for JOY. It will be made available from JOY's Listen Live page.

If you look closely, you'll see the design of the Widget took most of its elements from the recent JOY 6 CD launch.

Once finished, I'll be moving on to creating a Vista Sidebar Gadget, with essentially the same functionality as the Dashboard Widget. However, one obvious difference will be in it's design. Where Dashboard Widgets are generally 'landscape' style designs, a Sidebar Gadget is generally lesser in width and more of a portrait style design. This is done out of practicality: because the Vista Sidebar is, well, a Sidebar. It doesn't have the luxury of full screen real estate that is graciously provided for Dashboard Widgets.

The concept behind all of this is to bring JOY to as many people online as possible. With the onset of certain online 'radio' stations, the more ways given for people to listen and ultimately support the station, the better right?