Upping the Ante: Konfabulator goes cross-platform
by Russell Miles
Related link: http://www.konfabulator.com
Those in the widget development community would have to have been living in a hole for the past 6 months not to have seen all the upset over Konfabulator and Apple's new Dashboard feature in OS X. While I don't take either side on the issue, that's up to the evangelists, it is interesting to see that Konfabulator is definitely not sitting quietly and giving up on it's hard-earned user base.
Konfabulator's response to Apple's development of Dashboard is to hit where it tends to hurt by pitching in the cross-platform development card. Konfabulator is now available on Window's and the idea is that all those useful widgets that you playfully created for your Mac can now be used when you absolutely have to use Windows or even shared with your Windows mates to help them out with their Mac envy.
So what does this mean for us developers? Well, maybe not too much. We can still develop our gadgets/widgets for either Dashboard or Konfabulator. Since the types of software people tend to encapsulate in a widget are pretty simple, any porting activity might not be as big a hassle as you might think. But who wants to port when one widget/gadget platform can offer "write once, run anywhere"? It's nice that Dashboard offers neat integration features into the Mac OS itself, but is that enough to make you write that quick gadget/widget using Dashboard when you could choose another route and immediately get support for the 'market dominant' OS for free. Time will tell.
To be honest, I don't have a strong bias either way. I'm a Mac user by heart and a Windows user by job. I also develop on average a widget a month for Konfabulator to make my job easier and life a bit more fun. Yep, I've got annoyed at times with the resource hungry Konfabulator and also yes, I am looking forward to Dashboard, but I'm also a lazy software developer who hates writing stuff twice so cross-platform support really appeals. In conclusion, I guess I'll just end up opting for one or the other based on ease of development as that's the key to developing widgets/gadgets in the first place.
What do you think about Konfabulator going cross-platform? Will it put you off developing for Dashboard or is it not that important because widgets/gadgets are simply not that big a deal anyway?
Not completely correct
Arlo Rose announced a Windows version of Konfabulator before Apple announced Dashboard. Whether Dashboard had appeared or not, Konfabulator for Windows was already on the cards. It will be interesting to see how he does when facing competition from the likes of StarDock.
Tempest in a teapot
Konfabulator is fun, but it's hardly essential. No one bought a Mac simply to run it. And no one will miss it if Rose decides to drop Mac support (which I bet he does). Besides, even if he ends up with minimal marketshare on Windows, the absolute numbers are likely to be better than market dominance on the Mac. I wish him well, but he won't be missed.