Roll Your Own Widgets With OS X Leopard

osx.jpgThe latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system Leopard went on sale Friday, and aside from some reports of users getting blue screens of death, the release has been generally well received.

Desktop widgets have always been a love them or hate them proposition for many users, and yet it’s a strongly contested market, with Yahoo and Google offering desktop widget platforms that compete against native widget offerings in both OS X and Vista. The latest incarnation of OS X adds a new feature that widget fans will find useful: web widgets.

Web widgets allow you to create you own widget based on anything you see on a web page in Safari. It’s as simple as clicking on the web widget button, moving the box over the area you want, resizing, then clicking add for an instant desktop widget.

The widgets rely on finding suitable content to be used, but that’s not that hard. The Techmeme new item finder was my first choice for a web widget and it was as simple as I have described above; Drag the box over the new item finder box, then click add.

The only possible negative is that there is no obvious way of setting update/ refresh times for the widgets. Updates can be manually forced by clicking the “i” information button then clicking done; at least when I did this the widget updated. They may update at set intervals or by other methods, if you know how to set this let us know in the comments.

The Leopard web widgets service also allows for the importation of browser widgets, such as those offered by personalized desktop providers such as Netvibes and iGoogle. Amnesty Hypercube, a service we covered in August, provides a similar service.