Why would I want to use DesktopX?
That depends on what you do. If
you're an end user (most people) you can install
DesktopX and be able to add mini-apps called "widgets"
to your desktop. These can be quite useful depending on
what you want to know. You can add things like
stock tickers, headline news, extended weather
forecasts, CPU meters, drive space monitors, or pretty
much anything else. The idea is to be able to put things
on your desktop that aren't "applications" per se but
are things you would want rapid access to.
Wouldn't that clutter up my desktop?
And besides, I usually have my desktop covered with
That's true. However, DesktopX
allows you to hide all your widgets with a hot key
(Default is F10 but you can set this). So with a single
press, they can be hidden and press it again and they'll
all show up. One can almost imagine using the
overlay feature as a kind of..dashboard on top of your
desktop for when you need to know things.
Won't this use up a lot of extra
No. That's the whole point - rather than
run traditional applications which use a lot of memory,
widgets, by design, use a lot less memory to do the same
Okay, I understand widgets, but what
about "objects"? What are they? What's the difference?
Technically, the difference is that
widgets are .EXEs. They run in their own memory space.
Objects, by contrast, are "imported" into DesktopX. You
have to have DesktopX running to use an object.
Widgets don't require DesktopX to be running at all,
just installed somewhere on your computer (to make use
of its DLLs).
This creates the practical difference:
Objects have less overhead than widgets because they all
share the same memory. So people use objects to replace
desktop icons or to have eye candy on their desktop.
By contrast, widgets tend to do something.
This is an example of a widget.
This is an example of an object.
You can import widgets into your
DesktopX environment to modify or to have running in the
same space as your other DesktopX content. So many
authors have uploaded their widgets as objects too
(hence the confusion). Generally, if your thing
does something, you should export it as a widget. If
it's basically a super icon, it should be exported as an
So then what are desktops?
If you get all your objects just the way
you want, you can save it as a DesktopX theme (a
desktop). This is basically a snapshot of your
desktop. As a result, users can create some pretty neat
This is an example of a desktop.
DesktopX Enterprise even lets you create
desktops that make use of the Windows NT security
features. Or put another way, companies can build
custom, branded, secure desktops. They'd need DesktopX
Enterprise (1 license) to export the secure desktop file
(.desktop) and then purchase DesktopX run-times (around
$10 apiece in large volumes) to put on their desktops.
Desktops differ from exported objects
and widgets in that they can totally control your
desktop (hide the Start bar, have a system tray, etc.).
You can literally create your very own custom Windows
environment with this.
What is the difference between
versions of DesktopX?
If you just want to run other people's
stuff, just get the DesktopX client. It lets you
run the objects, widgets, and themes. It has almost no
user interface so it's very easy to use.
If you want to create your own desktop
or objects or widgets you need DesktopX Standard.
It can run everything too but it includes the
development environment that lets you quickly create
this stuff -- right on your desktop.
If you're a software developer (or
Script) with some ambition, that's where DesktopX Pro
comes in. It lets you export your widget as a
gadget. Gadgets are the same as widgets except they
don't require any run-times to be installed. The
.EXE you create can be sent to anyone with Windows 2000
or XP and run there.
Explain again the difference between
"widgets" and "gadgets"
Widgets are .EXEs created with DesktopX
that run as normal programs but require that DesktopX
(any version) be installed somewhere on the computer
Gadgets, by contrast, are truly
stand-alone programs that require no installation or
additional downloads to use.
How big are the "gadgets" I create
with DesktopX Pro.
Very small. Consider this analog clock
The EXE is around 500K. That's smaller than a "Hello
World" program is typically with a modern compiler. And
this is a full blown analog clock with very nice
Explain a little bit about
DesktopX Pro can create stand-alone
programs called Gadgets. Users can give these away or
sell them however they want. But they can also
submit them to
DesktopGadgets.com. The user uploads
the gadget, supplies the price (from free to as much as
they want to charge) and if they pass moderation,
they'll show up on the site with a buy link. When users
buy the gadget, the developer and DesktopGadgets.com
split the proceeds 50/50.
How is DesktopX different from other
programs that do "widgets"?
The first thing to bear in mind is that
DesktopX was available for any program of this nature
existed on the PC or Macintosh. So it has a very
large head start in terms of technical features.
But here are some of the current
advantages of DesktopX over other "widget" enabling
Its widgets are .EXEs. This
means you can load them without having to first load
some "widget" environment. As long as you have at
least the DesktoX run-time installed, you can use
It can also build desktops.
The other widget enabling programs are just that -
widget enablers. They can't build desktops.
It's easy to create things with.
DesktopX standard includes a powerful but easy
to use widget/desktop developer's environment. You
can literally create your widgets or desktops right
on your existing desktop. It includes a build in
editor with Intellisense-like features and will
underline your mistakes. The others require you to
slog it through by using your own text editor to
It supports ActiveX controls.
No one else can do this. COM objects (such as web
browser controls) can be treated like DesktopX
objects. So creating MP3 players or web browsers or
Flash games with DesktopX requires no special
It supports an open plugin-architecture.
If there's a core feature of DesktopX that you
feel missing, you can extend it by making plugins.
So developers don't have to lobby (and wait) for us
to implement some new class or concept in the
underlying architecture, they can build a plugin.
It has multimedia features built
in. Animations, sounds, and other visual and
audio effects are built in. This also includes
shadows, transparencies, sizing, coloring -- all
from the GUI (as well as in code).
Tons of existing classes. The
benefit of being first is a wealth of classes for
developers and users. Want a system tray object? No
problem, just select system tray. Taskbar? Same
Let's say I don't care about
"widgets" or "gadgets", why would I use DesktopX to
build a desktop rather than other programs that exist
that let you have your own shell?
The main difference is that DesktopX
doesn't replace the Windows shell (explorer.exe). It
instead extends it. DesktopX lets you enhance the
functionality of Explorer (or any shell for that matter)
as well as control how it looks.
Replacing your Windows shell has some
peril involved, especially since many shell replacements
make assumptions about the way Windows works that may
change from version to version. By sticking with
Explorer, you don't have to worry about features you're
used to disappearing.
I have Object Desktop, which version
of DesktopX do I have access to?
You would have access to DesktopX
Standard 3.0 (the one that's normally $24.95). This is
the version that can both use widgets, objects, and
themes and create them. But it doesn't create the
stand-alone EXEs (gadgets).
So why is DesktopX a big deal?
Here are 3 basic
reasons why DesktopX is so revolutionary:
It lets end users easily add content
to their desktop that are far more functional than
“icons” but are not quite traditional applications.
DesktopX essentially invents a new category of
desktop content that falls between icons and
We make it much easier for people to
create visually appealing functional
mini-applications (widgets) / desktops. The kinds
of things that would have previously been created
with a traditional "rapid development" environment
over a period of days or weeks can be done with
DesktopX in a fraction of the time.
With DesktopX Pro, you can take the
widgets you create and export them as a stand alone
programs (gadgets). Imagine if you wanted to create
a custom sales graphing utility for your office that
sits on the desktop of your sales team. Users with
only some programming knowledge could quickly write
this. Or picture a company that wants an
in-house instant messaging utility. This could be
created with DesktopX in a matter of days rather
than weeks. Simple programs that display information
or perform a few simple but important tasks that
need to look friendly can now be made quickly and