General opening

Since Spring 2007, developers have been building widgets based on the Netvibes Universal Widget API (UWA). Obviously, UWA allows anyone to create a widget that runs on Netvibes, but it also lets them run on the major widget platforms (Google/Opensocial, Apple, Microsoft). Through its simple and flexible design, UWA can run on any platform that supports common Web standards (HTML/JavaScript/CSS).

To us, UWA has always been thought of as an open-source initiative. It’s been obvious that we would never be able to get UWA to run on every single platform that’s out there by ourselves, and that in order to back our “Write Once, Run Everywhere” promise, we would need to let other implementers do what they do best. In the absence of a universal Web-widget standard, we believe that UWA is a real breakthrough. We want to engage in any discussions that would start around standardization, or at least about interoperability, in the widget world.

With this in mind, we had a Developers Meetup last Friday in Paris, where we announced the launch of This website will become the repository of all our open-source and standardization efforts for widgets.

To avoid any possible confusion, we do not imply that the Netvibes personalized homepage itself will be open source.

Currently, 3 projects are now available at

  • The UWA JavaScript Runtime: JavaScript libraries that make it possible to run UWA widgets
  • The PHP Exposition libraries: make it possible to parse and compile UWA widgets
  • The Exposition widget server: makes it possible to serve widgets to users, notably within an iframe.

All these components are available under the LGPLv3 license, which establishes great freedom of use for both users and developers.

As it is, UWA is really flexible standard that already works well on all the major platforms. But provided they get in the hands of an imaginative developer, these 3 new tools will help him to port UWA to a great variety of new contexts, be it the desktop, mobiles devices or social networks.

In the context of websites or web applications, the best way to have a go at it will often be to render widgets through iframes, which can easily be done using our Exposition widget server. You can install it in your existing infrastructure, or simply use our own freely accessible instance at This way, you can use the very same components that help us distribute hundreds of millions of widgets each month.

All these components are still considered just a ‘technology preview’, which means that for the moment, we are presenting them to developers in order to get their feedback and work on the documentation. We will keep you updated as often as possible about our advances and the upcoming official launch.

By opening up these technologies, we hope to extend the reach of the Web widget industry as a whole. Our goal is to launch a conversation around the future development of the widget economy. And we believe we’re not the only ones that will be excited about discussing these types of ideas!

If you have any question about this project, you can use our developer forum or drop us an email at platform at

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