Archive for April 17th, 2007

DotNetrocks, Gadgets and a Facelift for SearchDotNet.com

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for SearchDotNet.com. It started late last month when I was interviewed for DotNetRocks.com while at the DevConnections show in Orlando Florida. The topic of the interview was mostly about discoverability – how we as developers go about discovering information and existing solutions to problems. We did stray into various other topics, including some stories about earlier adventures (misadventures?) from way back when….

Shortly after the interview, a listener (at least I believe it was) posted a comment on my post describing the launch of SearchDotNet.com where he noted “A little Google homepage widget would be a nice addition”

What a great idea. Of course, I’d never actually written a “gadget” for Google, but it turned out to be remarkably simple, at least as far as simple gadgets are concerned. First I wrote a “Universal” gadget from use on custom Google Homepages. These were also supposed to work on Google’s desktop, but it turns out the latest version has a bug that prevents this for now. So I went ahead and created a Google Desktop gadget, that’s a somewhat trickier process.

While working on the gadgets I also realized that the site still had the minimalist (i.e. ugly) user interface I’d thrown together on the day I launched. It may seem odd that I hadn’t noticed this, but while I use searchdotnet.com all the time, I actually use it from the browser search box (the site has implemented OpenSearch from almost the beginning, so it’s always available as one of the search providers on my browser).

So I spent the past few days cleaning up the site. Not that I’d call it beautiful, but it’s quite a bit better than it was. More important, it now makes proper use of both CSS and .NET master pages, so I’ll be able to more easily update the design later.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank readers who have recommended additional sites for searchdotnet.com – I didn’t add all of them (there’s a new section of the site that discusses inclusion criteria), but I did add many of them, particularly some great new experts sites.