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Gadget Newbie

    Question

  • Hi Folks, I have aspirations to modify an existing gadget (the contact gadget, available in Vista but mysteriously absent from W7...) I have some css experience - enough to know I don't know enough to get going on my own hence joining this forum. I want to adapt the contact gadget to show different fields other than the ones that show 'out of the box' (contact name, email and phone) Has anyone got any suggestions ? Where do I start? Are there any good resources out there that'll talk me through how to do these things - has anyone already done this and can walk me through it?? I'm guessing its not going to be that hard (!) I hope you all agree!
    Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:15 PM

All replies

  • Bad guess.
    Start at the beginning.
    Modifying this gadget to any extent will also require a working knowledge of jscript.
    So start by making the "Hello World" gadget and experimenting with it, adding to it.
    If you just want to modify the contact gadget for yourself, you can just copy the gadget folder to this folder
    %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\
    and use your script editor (Notepad++ is free and good) to play with it to your hearts content.
    But if you are thinking of modifying, repackaging and redistributing what is essentially copyrighted material without the consent of the copyright holder then you either should start from scratch or ask for help elsewhere. (You need to be more specific about this if you want to ask for more help)
    Just because it's a MS gadget, doesn't mean it has been written in the best possible way. The great thing about all this is that there is a million different ways to write it. If you start from scratch and follow best practices there is every chance you can make a better one. One you can be proud of because it will be yours. Don't be duped into copying other peoples mistakes.
    After the link above these next three may well become your most important references
    There is a huge amount of material particularly in the last two, but you should try to soak up as much as you can as quickly as possible. Every time you use a property or method - look it up. This will slow you down at first but will prove to be a big time saver in the end. And all the while you will be noticing things you didn't even know existed.
    You need to learn how to validate your html, your css and your scripts.
    You should try to learn ways to debug your scripts manually.
    And my personal favorite - a thing which has made a big difference for me - is to never use == or !=  but instead always use === and !==
    This means that you are comparing type as well as value. Again, in the beginning this will slow you down (looking things up) and you will have to learn all the various shortcuts for type coercion. But in the end you will not be writing vagueness, instead you will be writing much more precise statements and you will have the confidence to write more complex scripts faster with less mistakes.
    Good luck!
    Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:48 AM
  • Thanks for taking the time to give me such a full answer, mystifeid :-)  There's enough there to get me started, I think. Cheers.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012 4:04 PM