Opera's new software kit beckons to widget developers

SDK makes widget specs widely available to third-party developers of advanced Web applications, supports major languages, includes emulator and a debugging tool.

Wednesday's beta release of a software development kit for Opera widgets brings the Norwegian company one step closer to its lofty goal of world browser domination.

Opera releases a widgets SDK
This Opera widget could appear on your laptop, desktop, or Wii. (Credit: Opera Software)

Opera Software if offering the SDK for widget authors to deploy their Web applications on the spectrum of devices that support the Opera browser.

The Opera widget SDK was designed on W3C standards to support CSS, JavaScript, Ajax, and HTML languages. The kit itself contains an emulator, libraries, and documentation full of nuggets on best development practices. Along with the emulator, developers may find the included Opera Dragonfly debugging tool most useful; though in alpha stage, Dragonfly could require some debugging itself.

The development kit builds on individual help articles and style guides circulated through Opera's development community site. It also draws on previous work for a widget wizard, the Widgetizer, which has been used to create simple apps.

In addition to a fine desktop browser, Opera surfs on Windows Mobile and Symbian cell phones with Opera Mobile and on the Nintendo Wii. Developers who take advantage of the SDK can create one widget to work on any of these browser flavors using many more workflow tools than were previously available.

Only Opera Opera Mini 4.1 for Java cell phones is excluded from the crop. As a diet Web browser, it doesn't yet have the capacity to support the widgets.

Opera may not have cornered the desktop browser market, but as the company continues to prove, it sure knows a thing or two about getting its products out there as many ways as it can. If you're a widgets developer, maybe your products, too.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.