i was mocking up a simple vista sidebar gadget to show a colleague of what a gadget is and he complained that it was "too wide" -- after i inquired further, he called me over to show me. you see in vista, when you have Aero (aka "glass" effects) enabled, the sidebar is really seamless into the desktop (apart from a shadow on the right). when you hover over the sidebar, it 'defines' itself and makes itself a little more visible...thus a small border/line appears. see below:
my colleage said "see, it's wider than the sidebar!" ah, now i understood. you see he had defined the sidebar as only that space to where the line goes (even if the line isn't visible). we argued a bit about the concept of space and definition, but to him, my gadget broke "the rules" in the width. what is interesting is that without scrolling over it, you never know the defined edges of the sidebar and thus in normal viewing, my gadget looks fine.
that is, until you add a bunch of others...all of which have maximum docked widths no larger than the sidebar border (note: a gadget can be undocked and placed anywhere on the desktop). interesting, i thought. it appears that we've put ourselves in this situation. so where does the sidebar start/stop. arguably, you could say "it's a sidebar" so it is defining itself on the side. in my opinion, sidebar isn't a good name, for that reason specifically. to me, it's a dock -- a "snap to" location for the gadgets.
oh well, maybe the other gadget designers can break free of 140 pixel widths and liberate in a docked mode!
Please enjoy some of these other recent posts...