Apple Wants Your Widgets

Apple Wants Your Widgets. By tim

Macworld points to
Apple's call for submissions of automator actions, spotlight plugins,
and dashboard widgets for redistribution from (I didn't
expect to love dashboard as much as I do. It's my favorite feature of
Tiger — so many cool and useful add-ins!)

Plug-in architectures are one of the key ways that software companies can create an “architecture of participation.”
I've long argued that access to source code is only one of the aspects
that makes open source software projects tick. The celebrated “right to
fork” is a kind of “nuclear option” that protects developers against
catastrophic failure in a development ecosystem. In a healthy
ecosystem, what's important is an architecture that makes it easy for
developers to extend your platform, building tools that become first
class citizens. Linux is so successful as an extensible, organically
growing system because it's a continuation of the original Unix
philosophy of cooperating software tools; the internet of cooperating
servers is rooted in the same philosophy.

Perl's usefulness exploded with the availability of CPAN; Firefox's
plug-in architecture is one of its killer advantages. So I'm glad to
see Apple creating some platforms that developers can extend in small
ways, and what's more, helping to promote the user-developed extensions
by offering them for download from Apple's site.

Self-promotional aside: Some systems that have a lot of
extensions, modules and plug-ins don't have a good central repository
of the work contributed by a community. That's the idea behind new
O'Reilly site CodeZoo.
We started by building a component repository, a la CPAN, for open
source Java components. As you can imagine, other languages are on the
way. [O'Reilly Radar]

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