Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, August 30, 2007

IGoogle’s New Gadget-to-Gadget Communication

You can now allow iGoogle gadgets (formerly called Google personalized homepage modules) to talk with each other... if the gadgets are included on the same page, that is. Google calls this their “PubSub” (publish-subscribe) framework for developers, as Google Operating System reports.

For instance, you can create two gadgets, A and B, which you will “bind” to each other using the same name “test001”. Then, in the user preferences portion of the XML-based gadget, A contains the parameter publish="true”, making it a publisher gadget. And B will contain the parameter listen="true” and the event on_change="updateMessage”, making it a subscriber gadget.

PubSub is still rather buggy at the moment. I played around with Google’s official sample gadgets tab, and after I switched the position of two gadgets the page ended up in what seemed like an infinite loop which displayed map results in the box that was supposed to carry news search results. Reading through Google’s list of known bugs, I was surprised to find this is actually currently expected behavior due to the Beta status of PubSub. Wonder why the rush though, as this sounds slightly Alpha-ish (after all this is the company we’re supposed to trust to secure our emails, docs, spreadsheets etc., and a security bug in any single hosted service has the potential to exploit other hosted services).

Now, I’m curious if some of you can think of some use-cases for gadget-to-gadget communication!


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