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Widgets Don’t Age Well

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How far can you push a widget? YouTube video embeds, quite possibly the most successful widgets of all time, are seriously failing these days. Click on most any embedded clip, it seems, and you’ll get a “This video is no longer available” warning. Perhaps this is a fatal flaw of widgets; maybe they are best used for delivery of information that is time-sensitive and forgettable, like the weather or the stocks. Read more on NewTeeVee.

8 Responses to “Widgets Don’t Age Well”

  1. btw, media companies that pull videos off of youtube (causing the problem you talk about here) aren’t necessarily providing a good substitute either. i wrote a post about how the daily show videos expire in 30 days. ughh…what happens then?


  2. What an absurd and unresearched poost. As Jeffrey said this has nothing to do with widgets. In this case, it’s a fxn of YouTube removing illegal conent from their repository.

  3. I think the web site owners that embed any content such as YouTube videos have a responsbility to monitor the situation. A good web site will remove any content/widgets or whatever that no longer work or has been removed.

  4. I would have thought this had more to do with careful widget design than anything else. Youtube telling you a video’s been removed only after you click on the play button is stupid, as well as a waste of their bandwidth. It would be much better to either display an unobtrusive message or offer to go find similar videos.

    Similarly, an RSS widget could have a fallback if the feed has disappeared, and so on.

    The best widgets have to do with data trends rather than single items of data, however. In the case of the latter, you often might as well have a straight HTML link – whereas with data trends and more dynamic information, you provide something more interesting that’s specific to the widget format.

  5. Jeffrey, I think that the idea is that if the video was hosted at YouTube itself rather than through a widget client, the entire page around the video (the blog post, the search result) could be removed. So you would never even notice that the video was gone.

    There are other time sensitive bits of information out there besides copyrighted video: images, rss feeds that disappear, music files that are moved, widgets that run off of old APIs, etc.

    The point is that these widget providers can’t reach out to all of their implementations when there is an update. Maybe they can. I could see some smart widgets, which are produced to update their own code somehow when there is an update in the “mother ship”. These widgets wouldn’t literally update code on the host blog, but if the embedded script was general enough, you could do most of the processing on the server.

    Hope this makes sense.

  6. I think you might have a huge bias about this solely because of YouTube. I have for sure noticed this trend too: clicking on a youtube video only to get the dreaded error.

    But it is not totally unexpected knowing the copyright entanglement many YouTube videos have wrapped around them.