Widgets are making further entry into the enterprise. IBM is partnering with Google to allow integration of more than 4,000 Google Gadgets with WebSphere portals. It's the beginning of a trend (which I wrote about in the post, SOA for the masses) that marries consumer and enterprise content in composite application environments.
Enterprise content is also showing up on personalized home page. For example Etelos, an enterprise CRM provider, introduced CRMforGoogle, which integrates with Google Apps Premier Edition and Google's Personalized Homepage via widgets (gadgets, modules). Etelos also integrates with Netvibes, a personalized, widget-based portal.
Ed Anuff, CEO of Widgetbox, a directory and syndication platform for widgets, told me that Web widget adoption is on a major upswing. However, widgets in the context of enterprise portals requires a security model in which the widget providers have to known and authenticated. Most widgets are not designed with corporate security in mind.
"The challenge is opening up corporate portals to a lot of external content. You have to evaluate them from a standpoint of whether the widget provider can deal with enterprise terms of service," Anuff said. "Widget providers have different standards of service, and the providers aren't making enterprise class services based on their entire of widget catalogs. We are capable of doing it based on demand, but right now we want to see what happens and how the costs get passed on. We are still a couple of quarters away for doing it for any services other than consumer content."
Anuff also noted that widgets are getting smarter, allowing for more personalized experiences, such as configurable widgets that know and preserve your preferences. It really just the next step in modularizing software, allowing the developers and users to carve out content functionality into Web-service enabled widgets.
The issues of multiple formats for widgets and a lack of unification and standardization for desktop and Web widgets are also a barrier to adoption for enterprises. W3C's Web Application Formats Working Group is working on specification for standardizing the way widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a device independent way.