Longhorn may be 2 years away but the battle for your desktop has already begun. Longhorn will introduce a new user interface design language called XAML.
XAML on its own would be yet another user interface markup language. But combine XAML with the compositer in Longhorn and you can imagine all kinds of really cool mini-applications being created. When someone talks about MacOS X's "Dashboard" bear in mind that Microsoft's XAML predates it in announcement and may deliver much the same thing. Widgets are essentially mini-applications but without the overhead associated with a stand alone program. All of the widget-enabling programs give users a tiny glimpse of the cool stuff one might do with Longhorn and the compositer in terms of app creation. And one can easily imagine all these widget applications eventually supporting XAML to usher in a whole new wave of desktop customization.
We here at Neowin have seen the rise of desktop customization over the past few years and widgets may be the next stage in that development, particularly when one considers the potential of Longhorn. This article below goes through the various widget enabling programs already available and explains what's cool about them.
View: Article: Widget Wars
News source: In-house