A little while back Apple released a beta version of Dashcode, an application that allows you to create your own dashboard widgets. The app will eventually be part of OS 10.5 Leopard.
Dashcode is easy to use because it gives you templates to choose from, like RSS reader, countdown, podcast, etc… Following this tutorial over at download squad, I whipped up a One Digital Life RSS reader widget in about 10 minutes, without knowing anything about building widgets, or writing any code.
Before you can download Dashcode, you need to sign up with Apple as a Developer. It’s free!
Dashcode worked pretty well for me, but it was lacking two options that I wanted. There was no way to make my widget user-resizable. I had to make it a little big to accommodate the width of my images. Also, while it did provide a button to minimize the stories down to just the headlines, it didn’t give me a way to load it in that way by default.
Although Dashcode is beta, my widget does seem to work pretty well. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to develop it, it was really just a fun little exercise. But, if you follow this site, and haven’t started using a dedicated RSS reader, you can download my widget to keep track of the latest posts (requires OS X 10.4.3+). If you give it a try, let me know if you have any problems.
On a side-note, the Dashcode beta expires on July 15th, 2007. I’m betting that’s an indicator on when Leopard will ship.