Noah Blumenthal's Blog

September 15, 2008

Windows Sidebar Gadget for Jewish Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — noahblu @ 6:10 pm

Recently, I was looking for a project to flex my Script# (http://projects.nikhilk.net/ScriptSharp/) skills.  I never built a Sidebar Gadget so I figured I\’d try that.  I\’m not very imaginative, but I am a religious Jew so I’ve come up with a Gadget for the Windows Sidebar that displays Halachic times (read: times according to Jewish law) for the current day.  This is my first stab at a Windows Sidebar Gadget and is also my first release (consider this an alpha release) so it may have some bugs, but I’d love for you to try it out and let me know what you think (and what bugs you encounter).

If anyone thinks they have a way of making it look nicer, please let me know.

To use this you’ll have to have Windows Vista (Sidebar is a new feature in Vista), and this currently only works in the USA (you need a zip code).  To start, install the gadget (I guarantee it’s virus free, though I can’t guarantee it will work – you can always uninstall it) and then set your zip code by clicking the little wrench icon that shows up when you hover over it (that’s button that brings up the settings menu and is the same for every gadget).  From there you can input your zip code.

Features:
1)    Pulls times from Chabad.org’s RSS feed
2)    Auto-updates when the new day comes – if you download zmanim on day 1 and your computer is on overnight, it (should) re-download the new day’s zmanim sometime shortly after 12am. I have my doubts as to whether this will work correctly for most people.
3)    Comes in an ugly shade of yellow with very little styling
4)    Lets you know when the last update was
5)    Doesn’t download zmanim more than it has to – less hit to Chabad.org and less use of your precious internet connection this way (I guess that’s not really a feature, but it’s not like this thing does all that much…).

Future Features (I hope to incorporate these sometime in the future):
2)    Give you some control over which times are displayed
3)    Allow 2 sets of displays – one short display and one longer display for the “flyout” version
4)    Give you control over which halachic (read: Jewish law) authority to use (right now I’m using Chabad.org’s rss feed for the times, so I don’t have much control there, but if I can find another rss feed…)
5)    International support
6)    Any other cool things I can think of (or that you suggest 😉

I\’d love to hear what people think.

And now the requisite screen shot:

Now if I can only figure out how to post to the Sidebar Gallery….

UPDATE: LINK

http://gallery.live.com/LiveItemDetail.aspx?li=b27c864b-211b-42f6-bad2-29e63662679b

And wordpress killed that screenshot, I don’t know why — it worked before

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