The Entando low-code tools # 2: what are the Entando widgets
Today we’re revisiting the topic of low-code development. Our first foray covered the Entando Admin Console, and today we’ll cover a second aspect that exemplifies Entando as a low-code platform: widgets.
What is a widget?
From Wikipedia, we web widget is:
"a small application with limited functionality that can be installed and executed within a web page... [A widget] occupies only part of a page and does something useful with information retrieved from the web application business layer or from other websites... Widgets often take the form of on-screen devices such as telephone directories, photos, menus, clocks, information tables, daily weather, etc. Widgets allow users to turn personal content into dynamic web apps that can be shared on websites where the code can be installed.”
What is a widget in Entando?
At Entando, we rely on widgets as a key element in creating our web applications, using them as dynamic blocks that users can insert, move, and delete within the frame of a page with a simple drag and drop. This enables a low-code work mode that permits end users with little or no programming knowledge to create professional-quality web applications almost entirely with pre-built widgets.
In the Entando platform, all data inputs and displays - think search terms and form comments for inputs, today’s weather and recent social media posts for displays - are managed by widgets, regardless of the type of information. The platform even gives you license to create custom widgets designed around any information you want to view or consume. In other words, with Entando you have limitless creative control over widgets so that you can construct exactly the kinds of applications your business needs to succeed.
What’s more, once you’ve created a custom widget, you can redeploy it in all other Entando web applications. The visual elements of the widget are adjustable to match the look and feel of the new host page or application while still retaining the User Experience (UX) of the original instance. This reusability allows you to reuse all previously generated widgets without having to rewrite any code or central storage, regardless of the project in which the widget is used. It is therefore possible for a company to build its own private widget marketplace for all existing and future widgets, eliminating the need to recode or redesign new widgets.
Consider a few examples. In Entando you can find content widgets that enable a page to render at run-time via the CMS application. Or, you can use widgets with business logic that allow you to insert interactive elements. Data widgets, for their part, associate through API connectors, so they are the graphical representation of the Rest or Soap model. They can be either insertion forms such as dedicated masks or widgets, or visualization widgets like tables, graphs, and labels. These widgets let users interface with external system connectors.
Widgets, a convenient low-code tool
The ability to build pages entirely by adding off-the-shelf widgets allows you to create entire applications without writing a single line of new code. And no coding at all is about as low-code as you can get.