Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DRAGNET goes gadget

In my IGoogle career I had only created a few actual gadgets - to someone who grew up in the 1950's XML is a very hard thing to learn. Unlike HTML it is absolutely unforgiving of any inconsistency. Miss so much as a quotation mark and you're in the dark. I got back into the game in a funny way. One day I noticed that I was listed in Google's Top IGoogle developer at around #200. This is because I had a wildly popular fall shot and it landed me in an area that was way out of my league. Later on I found out that I was also at #400 using a slightly different Google account. That got me taking another look at my gadget files to see if I could add more information like quotes and links to my web page. After a few weeks of this, my XML capabilities were way up. Previously when it was time to parse I had ten failures for every success. Now those odds have flipped. Up until this, my gadgets were just simple photo cubes. I was able to replace these with slide shows that would have up to 100 images of Ireland, New York or Dogs. Then I realized that I could imbed our DRAGNET search engine of free legal databases into a gadget file. There was some trial and error followed by actual success. I'm still tweaking, but we do have a working gadget now with the full functionality of DRAGNET and it's getting better every day.
Meantime, the improved data started showing up in the top developer's list. Earlier this week, my two entries were in adjacent spots.

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