The Power of Favelets

What's a Favelet?

Everyone knows what a bookmark on Firefox or favorite on Internet Explorer is. They simply store a website location so that you can easily return there just by clicking it. A favelet is no different except that instead of containing a website address, it contains a small amount of code. It's a little application or tool. These have been around for a while and although some cool things have been done with them, they've never gone mainstream. maybe give a one-sentence example of one.

Once you find a handy favelet, you make it accessible via your browser's bookmark/favorite toolbar. PICTURE Therefore you have easy access to the tool, and can run it on any website you visit depending on what the tool does. Let's say that again: you can run the favelet on any website even if the site knows nothing of the tool.

COWS Ajax Powered Favelets

Favelets are limited to containing a very small amount of code. Often times they are used to load other scripts that do the heavy lifting. COWS Ajax is similar in this regard. The difference though is that once COWS Ajax is loaded you are able to keep communicating with the server. So in the case of the favelet for SpellingCow, the as you type spell checker, you are able to have spell checking on any web site you visit even if that site does not have SpellingCow installed. Pretty cool stuff!

Therefore combined with COWS Ajax, you can have very sophisticated services running on any web site you visit. They are only active when you choose to activate them and they are cleared as soon as you visit another web page. There's no installation at all beyond creating a bookmark and adding to the bookmark toolbar. There's no messy executuable files to worry about so uninstalling is as easy as removing a bookmark. These little apps can pack a powerful punch, are very easily managed, and are run only when the user clicks on them. It should go without saying, but you should only obtain favelets from a trusted source. As with anything you run on your computer, there are security concerns that come up when running a favelet from a malicioius creator.