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Apple,let my Widgets go

I'm very frustrated by Widgets. Widgets are clumsy and extremely user unfriendly - not the Widgets themselves, but rather the way Apple has chosen to integrate them with the rest of OS X.

What's wrong with Widgets? First there's that "all or nothing" mentality: hit your Widget activation key (F12 usually) and your screen fills with all your active widgets. I may only want to see one, but I get them all.

There's a partial solution to that: open a Terminal window and type:

 defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
 killall -HUP Dock 

After doing that, activate Widgets, and choose one as though you were going to drag it somewhere. Start dragging, and hit your Widget activation key again. That switches you out of Widget mode, so let go of the drag and now you have your widget on your desktop.

Great, it's been freed from its brethren, but the stupidity is that it's always on top of any other window, which may not be very good for you unless you have acres of spare screen real estate. My bet is that you won't like this, so just reverse the procedure: select it, hold the mouse, hit your Widget activate key, and let it drop back to its other widget friends.

There's a $20.00 program that improves things quite a bit: http://www.amnestywidgets.com/WidgetBrowser.html gives you a Widget menu from which you can call up individual Widgets. Once running, you can Ctrl-Click to configure the Widgets behavior: you can retain the annoying "always on top", make it act like any other window, or pin it to the Desktop window. That's so much better.. Apple should take a big heaping clue from this..

While digesting that clue, perhaps Apple should take it a step farther. Widgets should be dockable, of course. Something like the way the Applications Dock icon works now would work for Widgets - though is there really any reason to separate these from ordinary apps? I think not - a "Widgets" directory under Applications is fine. When a Widget is run, a control click or a normal "Get Info" could let you set Window behavior.. but heck, as long as we're doing that for Widgets, why wouldn't we do it for all apps? Maybe I want Safari "always on top".. maybe not overall, but let's drag Spaces into this, shall we? I just might want Safari or anything else "always on top" in a particular Spaces window, or pinned to the Desktop in a specific Space.

Widgets should have Spaces preferences just like other apps have in there. And as long as I've dragged Spaces into this, why shouldn't each space have its own Dock? Maybe it should, and you might even be able to tweak that with a little creative plistery. If not, I'm sure there is some way to get that behavior, but it would be nice if it were standard. Each Space should have its own Desktop background too..

Before I leave the "what's wrong with Widgets" rant, I can't forget to mention cut and paste. Tell me, why would the designers of this stuff think that I would NOT want to cut and paste from Widgets?

So, here's my wish list:

  • Allow Widgets and all application windows to be configured to float or not float.
  • Allow widgets to go in the dock and to be locked to specific Spaces.
  • Allow each space to have its own Dock and own Desktop background.
  • Allow cut and paste with Widgets

Ok, Apple: get cracking on that. Let me know when it's ready, and thanks.

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