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Creating Vista Gadgets: Using HTML, CSS and JavaScript with Examples in RSS, Ajax, ActiveX (COM) and SilverLight Paperback – 5 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Sams; 1 edition (5 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672329689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672329685
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,899,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

A one-stop resource for each aspect of designing and developing Sidebar gadgets, perfect for anyone who wants to create killer gadgets
  • Explores one of the super cool features new to Windows Vista -- the Sidebar
  • It is a one-stop resource for each aspect of designing and developing Sidebar gadgets, perfect for anyone who wants to create killer gadgets
  • Includes complete design instructions for four never-before-seen gadgets

Windows Vista Sidebar is a panel located on the desktop of a PC where gadgets can be placed for easy access and reference. These gadgets are small, single-purpose applications, such as clocks, calendars, games, RSS notifiers, search tools, stock tickers, etc, that reside on the Windows desktop and on the Windows Sidebar. The book will be a tutorial to design and develop a gadget. It will provide ready-to-use samples using .NET, XML, CSS and AJAX. After reading the book, a web developer/designer will be confident enough to start developing gadgets for Windows Vista Sidebar. The beginner portion of the book shows an overview of the subject with the design pattern, the architecture and implementation details. The later sections will have solid examples for instant results. In short, the book will tell how to do everything with Sidebar Gadgets using solid, unique examples. Brief outline: " Brief background on Gadgets " Define architecture, design consideration and implementation to give a clear view to the developer " Step by step, create a useful Gadget sample "My Blogs" " Elaborate the architecture design constraint and implementation details for the sample " Detail the standard practices " Recheck the gadget created for standard practices " Improvise and Improve with compare and contrast " Add advanced samples with .NET, AJAX and XHTML.

About the Author

 Rajesh Lal is an author, technology evangelist, and solutions engineer specializing in web technologies. He has received numerous awards for his articles on Windows Vista and Sidebar Gadgets and is a frequent contributor to Windows Vista Magazine and Code Project website. With over a decade of experience in the IT industry, Rajesh enjoys taking an objective and pragmatic approach to developing applications using Microsoft technology. He has a master’s degree  in computer science and holds both MCSD and MCAD titles. To visit his Vista Gadget blog, go to

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HT KUNG on 30 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Good book, interesting content but it contains plenty of useless information.

I wanted to build a digital clock gadget, I can't find any tutorials in here...

what can I find is the already built gadget... I mean I can go in them to seek for the codes myself, I don't need to buy a book that doesn't explain what the codes do.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not just another boring Technical book...... This one is FUN! 23 Jun. 2008
By Richard T. Kingslan - Published on
Format: Paperback
Typically, technical books have a problem of being dry. They lack style, any sense of enjoyment (seriously - you don't read one to stay awake at night...) and are typically read because you either have a problem with the subject at hand, or you've been tossed under the bus by your boss - who promised you could be an expert in three days. And, he told you Monday was the deadline - and it's Friday afternoon.

Now and then, you come across a book that IS fun, and gives you the opportunity to learn something that can be expanded greatly. Such a book is Rajesh's book on Vista Gadgets. With the technology based in the use of JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Ajax, the skills that you can glean from this book can take you in many directions. The key, however, is learning. And learning something is much more enjoyable and fun when you can see the outcome - and it does something that is, well - cool.

Gadgets are designed to be little tools to do something useful. They are a way to automate a daily task. To keep an eye on specific processes. A way to while the time away playing Suduko when, of course, you really should be working. Plus, they can be very attractive and add another element to the theme of a given desktop, much as the wallpaper and the colors of the windows create the theme.

Plus, as mentioned - gadgets can be considered a beginners introduction to Web Parts - those pieces of code that do tasks on web servers and on client browsers - the up and coming Web 2.0. The technology is the same, the scope and the interfaces into the larger project are different.

It would have been a much more average book if Rajesh had taken a number of projects and walked you through the code on how to develop these - all with code samples, snips of pictures, graphic elements, etc. However, he goes the extra mile by not stopping at the 'Let's build an RSS feed gadget...' (Make no mistake - you only need one of those, and all in all - they're pretty simple...) Rajesh takes it the extra mile by spending time on Patterns, project thoughts, bringing together all of the disparate elements. Call it, if you will, Designing Gadgets. Creating a gadget is not overly hard. Designing one is a bit more of a challenge. Rajesh takes you on the thoughts that need to be sorted out as you go through that process. The upside? You don't stop when you get done with the book. You really DO have all the tools necessary to design and develop your own tools, widgets, automatons and sidebar 'bots'.

Remember, though - these are supposed to be fun! If you find yourself having too much fun, that C++ book is just to your left. Read it for a while. Come back to this book and you'll see that Rajesh's book is MUCH MORE exciting!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great book!!! Even for starters with no background. 2 Thumbs up 14 Jun. 2008
By Anand Chauhan - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am a professor teaching Computer Science courses at a University and have reviewed many books. This falls into top 1% of the books that I have reviewed over many years of my teaching. The book presents a great content and a easy to understand style even for starters in this area. I am generally into hard core Linux technologies and have basic understand of Windows systems. However, this book provides sufficient conceptual background to start programming rapidly. The code examples are great to understand the basics of Gadgets. With the book in hand the user can safely assume an easy learning curve. Its a power packed, programing and easy approach to learning Windows Gadgets, and to my understand is the best book it its class. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Book and the stuff that we need to build gadgets is in here 12 Jun. 2008
By M. Kulkarni - Published on
Format: Paperback
Book is an excellent guide and must to have if you are looking to create gadgets.
Best thing about this book is its straight forward approach for serious application developer.The advanced samples are very handy when it comes to build gadgets real-time. i have already started using tips to build my own gadgets.

MUST READ FOR chapter 3, 8,9,10,11,12 to get into gadgets before its too late. Do not miss tips section very handy and useful.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Book, In-depth Analysis and reading material. 30 Jun. 2008
By Ajay Prasad - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is awesome book with in-depth analysis and great reading material. User friendly explanation that is even good for the starters. The book contains many topics that give detail orientation of learning and implementation. This book has very comprehensive details that explain everything and require no further explanation. 200% worth reading!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Get deep into Vista Gadgets technology 31 May 2008
By Luigi Bertoneri - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a developer with more than 10 years of experience. I like the new technology, especially of Windows Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded.
I have created a few gadgets without this book, since the Vista Gadget SDK was a beta. I found myself running into more bugs and problems. I think this book is a great learning tool and an excellent guide, it reports more material gleaned from a few of the tips.

The thing that many books have in common is that they are boring. Well, this book is different!
The author, Rajesh Lal, has presented his book, explaining complex matters in a new interesting way, which makes reading his book enjoyable as well as useful. It keeps the theory down to what you need to know to get the job done, without a load of waffle. The author's approach to teaching, is like a friend telling a story. Creating Vista Gadgets will throw a few challenging scenarios at you, you'll go from knowing nothing about gadget to having a strong grasp on the concept.
Programming delves into more depth in many areas; in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, RSS, Ajax and object-oriented programming.
The book is very well structured in a logical development with 4 sections and all concepts are described with illustrations.

In the first section Rajesh Lal talks about the history of gadgets and covers all the basics. Afterwards, he goes well in depth with more Vista Gadget samples.
You can find here all the basic steps required to begin to think your gadget. He provides an overview about using the manifest, the event, how to use resources and the APIs available. The 3rd chapter of the first section, is the chapter I like most, all you need for a killer gadget, the user interface. Around internet you can find a lot of gadgets but only a handful are very useful and cool. Here you can find a good guideline on how to think like a user, the choice to expose, how to do a quick access, the gadget's limits, the refresh, the style and so on. The last chapter of the first section talks about the way to use it in your business, needed for readers more than a noob - a real pearl.
It's indeed useful to understand how to use you gadget or what to deploy with a deep view around you, it helps you with a lot of case studies with benefits.

The other three sections are for real developers, explaining the tool you need such as Visual Studio and a step by step procedure to set up the project with some tips. Furthermore, you can find a deeper analysis of topics mentioned in the previous section. Here you can learn using a manifest, settings, the presentation and the DOM and so on. After the first samples and the first smell of the power you have, the author introduces the event and more useful info with some cool samples.
The 7th chapter is the best of the second section, great must read. I will not explain any further, enjoy reading it.
The book explains then how to debug a gadget, the debugging tools and how to use them and deploy with CAB or MSI. Section 9 is the last of this chapter, introducing AJAX and providing a lot of information on how to use it for deploying a gadget retrieving information from part of a site and manipulate it to a different view. It covers a lot of the design concept and usability.

In the last Chapter of the section 3 the author met his goals. He explains how to develop gadgets in different ways, thus adding renewed power to gadget: Silverlight. I have found it very complete, it's effective and useful. This chapter also have a lot of references and the author suggest areas for further research.
The 4th section, closes the book with a great shot. In "Tips and tricks" You can find some useful hints like avoiding vista security or how to protect your code. In "Extra" the author gives the readers a gadget template for Visual Studio, yes you have read well, a template with three cool gadgets.

My final assessment:
This is one of my absolute favorite books on programming, it's just a lot of fun. This is the first book that would really set you apart. It's very useful, with lots samples with code, it really helps you to improve your skills, thinking like an analyst-programmer. Moreover, it helps developers using some language and writing better code. After reading it, you'll have an arsenal of tools to throw at any programming problems. Getting to work under Vista Gadget with no easy task. The target audience is too widely spread, developers (green and old), architects, business analysts, so this book is great to have in the office or in your bookshelf at home. This book is highly recommended.

This book also serves as an excellent reference. If you have a question about something you can contact the author for reference agreement here:

I hope this is a comprehensive overview about this book, Creating Vista Gadgets by Rajesh Lal. If you understand a bit of what this book is... order now or buy it immediately, It will repay its cost within hours through saving your wasted time.
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