Product & Startup Builder

What makes a Touchstone adapter different from a Widget/Gadget

Added on by Chris Saad.
If you have been following our blog you will have noticed an ongoing 'conversation' about the difference between Touchstone and a widget/gadget platform like the Google sidebar, Windows Sidebar or Yahoo Widget Engine.

Well recently I recieved an email from one of our Adapter developers out there as he was just getting started, and his observations (in regard to the difference) were right on the money. So I thought I would share! Let's call him 'Al'.

Al Writes:

As far as adapters, I think the real value in this [touchstone] platform is that priorities can be set to allow the user to manage what they see and how they see it.

So I'm trying to contrast what Touchstone does with regular old Yahoo Widgets\MS Gadgets. I'm thinking that while something like a stock ticker is great (and typical of a widget/gadget platform), a stock alert ticker would be even better.

This would be where the user can specify stocks to watch and then configure triggers under certain conditions.

I think in terms of threshold based alerts, so that way I am not overloaded with 10 gadgets on my screen! I only see the ones where certain criteria have been met and my importance thresholds have been exceeded. Basically, while the regular suspects are good to have ( e.g. RSS viewer, stock ticker, etc) the differentiating factor for your platform needs to be attention based widgets, since all other widget engines have these other ones already.

I would agree with Al almost 100%. Here are the points of difference as I see them between the development of a normal stock quote widget on widget platform, and a Stock Quote Input Adapter on Touchstone.

  1. You don't have to develop any UI because you are only grabbing stock data and injecting into Touchstone. Touchstone's Output Adapters look after the rest.

  2. The user is not seeing all the information all the time in a little stock quote gadget or window - they see only what matters based on the importance of the stock/quote>

  3. You can get ALL the stock information and inject it ALL into Touchstone - They would probably just scroll across the ticker.

    But the real innovation is when your Input Adapter allows the user to set triggers for 'what to watch' (E.g. If a stock drops by 20% then tell me about it now!). In this way, when this event happens, an item you inject would have a 'declared importance' of 5. This declared importance is combined with other factors and used to alert the user in a more 'disruptive' way.

All in all, this distinguishes Touchstone from a widget/gadget platform and makes it an alerts/updates and attention management platform.

Cool huh? :)

Thanks for that great observation Al.