As part of the learning curve in my new gig I decided this week to build a gadget.

So in between everything else I've got on my plate at the moment I picked a collection of buzzwords and technologies and decided to wrap them all up into one gadget.


  • it's a Vista Sidebar gadget
  • It consumes an RSS feed (defaults to the Technorati WPF/E feed but you can over-ride that)
  • It uses Ajax functionality (okay, the xmlhttp object) to periodically refresh the feed
  • It's primary display technology is WPF/E (so you'll need the WPF/E runtime installed)
  • It's got a flyout (that closes automatically after 6 seconds)
  • It works docked and un-docked

It's not very pretty (I'm not a designer after all!) but it was an interesting first experiment. There's still a bunch of rough edges and further tweaks that it needs when I have the time:

  • Some mouse-over effects on the title list
  • Use WPF/E to display the flyout content
  • Allow the refresh time to be customized
  • Allow the number of items returned to be customized (at the moment displays everything it gets)
  • Make it look prettier!

As a learning exercise it was great. Combining WPF/E and Gadget technology is pretty much a no-brainer (WPF/E at the moment can only access items in the Gadget file, no external assets) - there's nothing mysterious in gadget building... it's just HTML, JavaScript (with a few extra properties to control the gadget settings and layout) and one XML file to define the assets.

Oh, and you can download it from here if you want to have a play...