The Gadget Environment 

Gadgets, Windows SideShow, and devices are closely interlinked. Windows Sidebar can be similarly interlinked for many gadgets.


With Windows SideShow technology, you build gadgets. Gadgets are add-in programs that update Windows SideShow-compatible devices with information transferred from a computer.

Windows SideShow

Windows SideShow includes a set of APIs that are available in Windows Vista. With Windows SideShow technology, developers can create applications and extend applications for devices that have varying display and interaction models. To build gadgets, you don't have to write device-specific code or worry about device-specific communication protocols. You build gadgets just as you would build any application for Windows Vista. Whether the device is connected through a USB port, Bluetooth, TCP/IP, or other future protocols, your gadget will send data to Windows SideShow-compatible devices.


Windows SideShow-compatible devices can be integrated into a computer, such as a small color display embedded in a laptop lid, or they can be separate from a computer, such as a mobile phone or a keyboard display. Examples of devices include displays that are integrated into a mobile PC; displays that appear on the front of desktop computers; mobile phones; digital picture frames; and displays that are embedded in keyboards.

The following illustrations show different ways that SideShow-compatible devices can be integrated into mobile PCs.

Windows Sidebar compatibility

It's possible to extend Windows Sidebar gadgets to Windows SideShow. Such extended gadgets can run in Sidebar while simultaneously supplying data to Windows SideShow-compatible devices.

Windows SideShow and Windows Sidebar are two distinct technologies for gadgets. With Windows SideShow, developers can build gadgets that display information on connected devices. With Sidebar technology, developers can build gadgets that give users quick access to information in Sidebar and elsewhere on their desktop. Sidebar gadgets are created with HTML and script, and interact with Windows only through script APIs.

For more information, see Extending a Windows Sidebar Gadget to Windows SideShow.