by Jason Deraleau

Related link: http://www.konfabulator.com

This past Monday, Konfabulator 1.0 made its debut.

"Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine for Mac OS X that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to."

It's a great little shareware app whose strength lies in providing an easy-to-program scripting engine. Developers can create Widgets using JavaScript and XML. The Konfabulator programmers have posted a PDF document which describes both the XML and JavaScript portions of the engine. They have also setup a message board for Widget developers to discuss their creations and ask questions.

It seems to be taking off quite well. On Monday, there were about a dozen Widgets available. Some basic clocks, a weather widget, a calendar. Five days later and the count is well over forty, with Widgets for search engines, controlling iTunes, and even some small games.

The program is very easy to use, simply download the disk image and drag it into your Applications folder (I also recommend setting it up as a Login item). Once you run it, an excellent wizard-type program walks you through Konfabulator's use and features. The initial set of Widgets are nice, but one of the first things you'll want to do is click the Konfabulator icon in the system menu and select "Get More Widgets...". This will take you to the Widget Gallery to pick out and download more Widgets.

Registration for the program is $25. Currently, the Widgets are all free, and I think that's the way the developers want it. This is definitely a program to try out and will certainly grow a large set of Widgets.

Now... I'm off to learn some JavaScript so I can write a Meerkat Widget :)

Have you tried Konfabulator? Have any favorite Widgets? Any Widgets you'd like to see developed?


2003-02-16 15:09:01
There's been a lot of hype surrounding this release, but for the life of me I can't see why. What's so special about this product that AppleScript can't already do? And why has noone noted that the widgets take up a huge amount of desktop real estate, pretty as they are?

After looking through the docs and noting the released widgets, it seems like this is a solution in search of a problem: none of the suggestions or widgets currently available are a significant improvement over already-existing apps/solutions.

2003-02-17 04:26:45
Agreed, dogzilla. What does this do (for 25 dollars) that AppleScript or shell scripts can't?
2003-02-18 02:53:15
I've been using it. Normally, I don't buy shareware right off the bat - I spend about a month giving shareware a workout before paying up or deleting the program. But Konfabulator just works so well that I plunked down the cash 2 days after downloading it. It's very, very flexible. I find the NetPulse widget really useful. I like having that list of updates to Versiontracker show up without having to constantly go over to the website. I'm waiting for someone to put up a MacCentral widget. That eBay widget will definitely come in handy.
2003-02-18 08:20:28
Live Desktop
2003-02-18 08:21:44
Live Desktop
I downloaded a bunch of widgets that I use and basically made my desktop a live desktop. So all the info I would normally have to look up elsewhere is constantly displayed on my desktop. Weather, stocks, CPU usage, news, all in the background constantly updated and live. I love it.
2003-02-19 06:33:23
Has anyone posting here tried to write an AppleScript interface? Sure, you could learn AppleScript Studio, but that's a lot of extra overhead for simple things. I write a lot of AppleScript, and one of the most annoying things is not having a quick and easy interface capability. That and the ability to also send shell commands (which I've combined with AppleScript quite often) will make Konfabulator widgets very useful as people have time to finish more complex widgets. The current line-up is a list of things that people were able to make quickly. Of course the sample ones show off fancy design. Go check the Gallery - designers are already responding to the requests for smaller widget designs. I'm working on one that will make my web-browsing a lot more convenient to handle...just need more time to put it all together.
2003-03-09 08:45:53
One really cool thing would be...
to have OS X themes replaced by a widget instead of mucking about in .pkg files and rsking deleting or not backing up something important, causing ugly or serious errors within the system. The themes are already freely available, but they come in a package of about 110 pictures (.pdf's) which is easy to lose track of...