Applet (desktop widget) system - discussion

In the list of open design and architecture questions at , 'Design an applet/add-on system'
interests me the most. With 'applet' I actually mean those small widgets
sitting on the desktop, showing some info, like gDesklets or Screenlets.

Here are some of the basic questions I'd like to ask straight away:

1) What should an applet actually do? Just show some status (weather,
system's temperatures etc.) or should it respond to some basic
interaction (update Twitter/Facebook status, drop an image onto the
applet and upload it to TinyPic or similar)?

2) How could it be implemented in the terms of GUI - Gtk, Clutter or
something third?

That's about everything I can come up with at the moment. Hopefully this
is enough to start some debate and discussion on this matter. I've done
some thinking, and here's how I imagine it:

1) Applet should be able to handle click, key, drag, drop and other GUI
events. This capability maybe expands beyond what applet is considered
to do, but I believe it is useful to great extent.

2) HTML, CSS, SVG and other similar technologies can produce beautiful
results in terms of style and appearance. Some may find Gtk's widgets a
bit too stiff when it comes to that, but I'm not saying we can't achieve
that 'cool' effect with them - I only believe the current web
technologies may be far superior when looking for that touch of elegance
and simplicity. Such code can then simply be rendered via WebKit or
Gecko and shown in an applet.

Ideally, I see Clutter being used for exposing the applet to the user
and HTML code rendered via WebKit/Gecko onto the applet. Clutter has
sufficient support for user interfaces and interaction, while HTML with
CSS gives the applet a nice look.

This theme should be discussed thoroughly. Any ideas, comments and
thought are more than welcome.

Zan Dobersek

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