Übersicht - JavaScript Widgets on you Desktop

August 06, 2014
Updated on: August 08, 2014 at 18:39

Übersicht - JavaScript Widgets on you Desktop → via @_patrickwelker

There’s a new contender on Mac OS X for widgets on your Desktop. It’s called Übersicht and the way it’s build makes it in my option far superior to it’s popular contenders, namely GeekTool and Nerdtool.

2014-08-06-ubersicht-screenshot-small.jpg Link: Full-Screen Image

Übersicht widgets can be build with JavaScript (or CoffeeScript). So with a bit of HTML and CSS you can make really nice looking widgets without relying on hacks. Just take a look at the current gallery.

But who better to tell you better what the benefits of Übersicht are than the developer himself. Here’s a comment of Felix Hageloh from the Lifehacker comment section:

… it is easy to do charts, graphs and even animations in Übersicht if you are comfortable with HTML/javascript! Another advantage is that your widgets’ position won’t break when you plug in a different size display. This is possible because of CSS positioning: you can say ‘position 10 pixels from the right edge of the screen’ and your widget will stay there no matter how large the display is.

Placing widgets on a fixed absolute position is my favorite “feature” over GeekTool – if I change my screens resolution my widgets are still where they belong. The first tweets I read complained exactly about this: there is no way to just drag and drop a widget where you like to have it. You have to edit the CSS values inside the widget to place it where you want it. And… since the customer is the king, Felix is already planning to integrate a drag and drop option (although one of the main reasons why he build Übersicht was to have absolute control over the position rather than vaguely placing something somewhere on the screen).

If you want to more about Felix and why he created Übersicht you can check out this 27 minute CSS on the Desktop talk from him (Warning: 420p ahead).

Bonus points for Übersicht: It’s not as resource hungry as GeekTool. If your comfortable with JavaScript (or CSS/SASS) it’s actually easier to write a widget for it.

Given it’s currently at Version 0.2 there aren’t much widgets for you to download. But it’s fairly easy to convert your existing GeekTool widgets if you look at the explanations on GitHub – it’s also open-source, so fork ahead.

That said, it also misses some key features like dual monitor support. At the moment you can only select one screen.

I think/hope/wish that it’s only a matter of time when Brett Terpstra switches to Übersicht and converts his GeekTool showcase to make it even more “übersichtlicher”.

PS: If you’re a die-hard GeekTool user check out Brett’s collection of geeklets.

UPDATE (2014-08-08):

I found another piece of information by Felix Hageloh than can make writing widgets a tad easier, so I thought I add it here:

So in essence the app is just a large WebView that is glued to your desktop and widgets are little snippets of HTML+CSS+JS. Of course you can’t run system commands from within a WebView, so the app comes with a NodeJs backend. For more details on that, you can checkout out the slides for my talk at the local Amsterdam JavaScript Meetup.

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