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Google's Boggle

Posted Thursday, October 13th, 2005 5:30:00 am
I'm rather annoyed.

I've been using the latest Google Desktop Search with the sidebar for a while, now. I really like the simplistic interface where I can have quick access to email, news, weather, and of course Google itself. But I don't like the way that Google makes 2 to 3 lines or more for each item. I also can think of little tweaks that I'd want to do to the existing news and web clips (RSS feeds) panels.

I also run Trillian, which has a "sidebar" of it's own that people have written some neat plugins for. The problem is, the interface for Trillian is too flashy. But it does things I like, especially with the RSS feeds plugin I have.

But, even on a 2048 pixel-wide screen, I find myself horizontally challenged, and can't justify giving the space to two sidebars. My solution, therefore, has been to attempt to pick up Google's plugin interface and try to code something in VB.Net. There are no VB.Net examples, but I've had success in the past porting C# to VB.Net. I gave it a try.

I have it mostly working. The COM registers. The panel displays. I can even click on a line item to see its details. The problem? The line item is absolutely blank. The only way I know it is there is if I move my mouse over it to see it highlight.

I tried posting to their developer groups to no avail, it seems the VB.Net code scared everyone away. I've been trying every now and again to get it working, and have learned loads about how Google processes information back and forth. I am going to be able to write some great stuff for this sidebar...

As soon as I can figure out how to get a damn content item to display.

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