The Comprehensive Toolkit for Web Apps and Widgets

current desktop with tiger widgetsHow many times did you think about making that super viral Facebook app, or creating a top 10 iPhone app? With Widgets and apps have become an integral part of our Internet experience and one of the most cost-effective ways to make content sharable and virally distributed.

Barriers of entry are extremely low: there are plenty of tools available for cheap or free, andmost require little to no programing experience. Below is a comprehensive list of widget building tools for the novice and the expert alike. 

Cooking Widgets, Building Apps 


Netvibes –  despite early rumours of an imminent deathNetvibes ecosystem still offers one the largest widget libraries on the web, with some 180,000 widgets available (some are aggregated from other sources). As described on the Netvibes developers page: “Netvibes Universal Widget API (UWA) is a free and elegant widget framework that uses XHTML for structure, CSS for styling and JavaScript/Ajax for behavioral/DOM control ; it can also use iframes and plugins such as Flash. UWA supports all major widget platforms, including Netvibes, iGoogle, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, iPhone and more.” 

 

MixerCast creator of the MCast Platform which is an end-to-end solution that includes a comprehensive set of tools and services, for creating, distributing, monetizing, and tracking all types of social marketing applications. MixerCast offers everything you need in order to successfully manage the app, including monetization, analytics and Adcasting – its paid distribution service.

Sprout – Sprout Builder is a robust environment to customize widgets, banners and mini-sites. The tool lets the user include video, audio, images and newsfeeds and choosing from a large number of pre-built components and web services. The Sprout gallery has some slick-looking examples.

Wix – whether you’re a small business or an aspiring web-designer, the Israeli start up that lets you create flash pages and widgets in minutes. They pride themselves with high levels of user adoption (“579,641 sites built with Wix”) and their mission is clear and simple: Easy to use drag and drop editor – No technical skills required – Search engine friendly. Premium services include the option to host your own domain with professional support.

SpringWidgets You bring the RSS feed and SpringWidget will do the rest. Just download the SpringWidgets SDK and begin building widgets right away. 

Widgetbox – a bit cluttered and more aimed towards distribution and discovery of widgets, Widgetbox offers simple tools for converting RSS feeds into widgets. The Blidget Pro tool is very convenient but not free.  Just enter your blog’s URL, twitter username etc, and you’ll get a customizable content widget like this one

KickApps – mostly known as a white label social network, KickApps is trying to bring social media services to the enterprise. Its App Studio, which launched in January 2009, is a tool for creating Fflash Widgets, embeddable applications and WidgeADs, a form of interactive banners. The widgets can include embeddable videos, dynamic content and even casual games, providing an engaging experience for the user.

Top Tier App Builders

The following companies, play in a slightly different level. 

Gigya – used by more than 1,000 widget developers, Gigya provides the building tools, the Wildfire distribution network which currently drives about 400K daily widget installs across the social web. In addition, Gigya has a widget monetization solution which, according to comScore, reaches 174 million unique worldwide widget users. Clients include some of the largest retailers, tv channels and mobile networks. 

Clearspring – closest to Gigya in reach and product features, Clearspring has a very simple flow and navigation structure. Interesting differentiation – No embed codes!

And many more…

With millions in funding and little in revenues, its interesting to see the migration of these services from viral distribution platforms to advances analytics and advertising distribution services. But keep an eye on this space – the widgets are here to stay.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He’s an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.

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