Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Significance of Web Widgets

Yesterday, I introduced the concept of web widgets. As chunks of HTML code, they don't seem particularly revolutionary at first glance. Yet they are revolutionizing the web.

YouTube is perhaps the quintessential example of the success of widgets. When you visit a video at the YouTube web site, you'll find a chunk of HTML code that you can copy and then paste into your blog, MySpace page, or other web site. I've embedded a YouTube video below. (Beware of humorous political content. Ali G. interviews Patrick Buchanan and tricks him into confusing WMDs and BLTs.)



The chunk of HTML code that I pasted into this blog entry to embed this video was:

<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/blnduEgwBH0" width="425" height="350" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed>
There are two primary reasons that widgets have become such a phenomenon:

  1. Blogs and social networking sites have turned ordinary web users into amateur HTML programmers.
  2. They facilitate viral marketing.
I'll explain these reasons in more detail in my next entry.

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