There are several different types of gadgets currently supported by Microsoft developer technologies. That might seem a little confusing, but we're here to help you figure them out.

Sidebar gadgets are the ones that run on the Windows Vista desktop; you're probably already familiar with the clock, calendar, weather, and similar gadgets supplies by default with Windows Vista.

Web gadgets are similar, but run on Live.com and Windows Live Spaces pages. You can learn more about these in the Windows Live Gallery Dev Center and the MSDN Forums Gadget discussions.

SideShow gadgets run on some newer devices such as secondary displays on laptops, remote controls, and computer keyboards. Jeffrey Richter wrote about these gadgets in the January 2007 issue of MSDN Magazine.

Getting back to Sidebar gadgets...

In the August issue of MSDN Magazine, Donavon West's article, Build Your Own Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget, introduces you to the major parts of a Sidebar gadget and then demonstrates how these elements come together to create a sample gadget: an MSDN Magazine Ticker for the Windows Vista Sidebar. You'll see how a little HTML and a little JavaScript can make for a snazzy little application on your desktop.

Don't forget to check out the gadget code in our code explorer.

Happy coding!

Terrence Dorsey