Collaboration in Widget Frameworks

More and more organizations are delivering mission applications to their users using web technology than ever before.  The ability to deliver rich applications using web 2.0 technologies has certainly helped make this possible. However, we are also seeing interest in using widget frameworks to de-clutter the user desktop experience.  One example of such as framework is Ozone and its associated Marketplace recently referenced in the Information Week article, Everybody Wants an App Store.

The Ozone framework is a combination layout manager and messaging mechanism for hosting widgets within a Web browser. It resembles iGoogle, and uses Shindig, an open source Google gadget (widget) container.  Ozone is being developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and it is used by numerous other government organizations such as The US Marshals Service, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) just to name a few.  NGA is using Ozone as part of their iGEOINT project to provide analysts with capabilities for easy discovery and access of NGA’s Geospatial Intelligence Data, Products and Services.  Another organization is building Ozone widgets that can be easily reconfigured to provide a variety of visual analytics solutions out-of-the-box.

Similar to the Apple App Store, Ozone also contains a marketplace where users can search and view a list of available applications that can easily be added to any desktop.  Once selected, the application is then loaded onto the user’s desktop displayed in the web browser.

So, how does collaboration fit into a widget framework?  Since the idea behind the widget framework is to provide small applications that users can pull from the marketplace, collaboration is a perfect fit whenever the capabilities are broken down  to their smallest units and allowing users to select the capabilities they want such as:

  • Presence Awareness
  • Document Storage and Sharing
  • Instant Messaging
  • Web Presentations
  • Audio-video Conferencing
  • Virtual Whiteboards
  • Blogs and Threaded Discussions
  • Social Networking
  • Alert Streams

Enhancing the marketplace with an integrated suite of collaboration widgets gives users the capability to select widgets from the marketplace they need to be more productive.  Users can then quickly and easily create a custom desktop that combines data, analytics and collaboration.

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