Toward its working goal of releasing a set of standards for widget development, the W3C has just released an updated draft of "Widgets 1.0 Requirements." Early last year, the W3C -- a standards-setter for this newest of frontiers -- tackled RIA and AJAX accessibility. And in January, they released eight new standards for XML. That the W3C's dipping into widgets can only improve the industry at large. Standardization of even these little (but oft-used) apps, creates a clear path for future innovators to ensure their product gets the play it deserves, without hampering a person's overall experience in terms of compatibility or basic usability. Known occasionally as gadgets or modules, and more formally as client-side Web applications, widgets are bite-sized programs that perform some minute task. According to Scott Silk, the inclusion of widgets are part of what sets the iPhone apart. For a typical user, widgets can be clocks, stock tickers, games, weather forecasters or currency converters. (On a Mac, you can even get a widget that streams video of a panda in the San Diego Zoo!) In short, widgets are small apps that display and update remote data, and run on a Web browser or in a Widget Engine. Widgets 1.0 Requirements contains guidelines for device-independent standards for scripting, digitally signing, securing, packaging and deploying widgets. In lay terms the purpose of this document is to standardize the process of developing and securely deploying widgets, so that each one is as interoperable as possible with market-leading user agents that support widgets. A widget that follows W3C principles should be able to satisfy this test. Widgets 1.0 Requirements was previously known as "Client-Side Web Applications (Widgets) Requirements." It was produced by a grouop operating under the W3C Patent Policy from February 5, 2004. The most current working draft was last updated on July 5 and was produced by the Web Applications Formats Working Group. The Working Group operates as part of the Rich Web Clients Activity, which falls under the W3C Interaction Domain. Check out the most current working draft of Widgets 1.0 Requirements. And here's the Editor's Draft. If you want to ensure your views get heard on the future of this bite-sized Web 2.0 standard, send your comments to the WAF Working Group's public mailing list at [email protected]. Also be sure to read the W3C mailing list and archive usage guidelines.