I want more FOSS Android Widgets

I like widgets, they're cool, and stuff like Rainloop and Conky exists, without forgetting all the cool KDE stuff. Why is it that Android does not have any cool FOSS widget makers, and why don't more apps come with more widgets bundled with them?

📆 24 Feb 2023 📕 692 words ⏳ 2 min. 🏷️ ramble thoughts android foss

Widgets have been one of the main features of Android, many years before Apple introduced them to iOS around 2 years ago, seriously, I feel old. Apps like the now dead (so dead, that after returning to Play Store, and then dying again, nobody reupdated their articles about it being dead for good) Zooper Widgets had been around since forever, and a little later KWGT and KWLP showed up. Both of them allowed users to make their own widgets and customize them to the extreme. And after a pretty reasonable price, you could also import existing widget packs available in the Play Store. I am completely amused that nothing similar exists in Android that is also free software.

Maybe its patented, or something? Or maybe KWGT’s 5 million downloads are quite a low quantity for any developers to feel like there’s no market for this. Still, tools like Conky and Rainmeter still have quite a bit of activity as desktop widgets and monitoring tools, I am just, surprised.

Obviously I don’t want to force any devs to put work in something they don’t care about or whatever, I am just ranting to myself honestly. On yet another tangent, I found quite a nostalgic thread on XDA full of screenshots from people sharing their homescreens since 2009, and, well, its been quite a while since then and a bunch of the early posts are quite outdated. There’s a few people doxxing themselves back when Gallery widgets were a thing, but nowadays not even that is available in a presentable manner. Simple Gallery has a super bare widget, but, its not very good…

Anyways, widgets in general really need to make a comeback. PLEASE!, How is it that there is not a single RSS feed widget built-in on any reader available on F-Droid, why can’t we have a good player for AntennaPod with Material You, or at least make the cover art bigger. How is it that Gallery apps no longer have a single picture or carrousel mode widget? K-9 Mail’s widget is nice but it is still light mode only.

I am probably complaining too much for someone who is doing nothing about it, I know. But I just want this to come back. iOS is honestly winning right now, at least when it comes to quickly displaying information at a glance, all the widgets are cohesive and look nice. Even if they still don’t have the amount of power Android’s can manage, like scrollable content and other features.

After playing around with the proprietary KWGT app, you can actually make a pretty functional RSS widget! So yeah, I feel like there’s no excuse…

Anyway, just so I don’t end with a bunch of complaining, I like some widgets out there that some apps have (or are), such as:

  • Todo Agenda, which recognizes the event colors of my caldav events, and its very customizable and useful.
  • Muzei’s image widget, since I use Muzei for my wallpapers, I usually darken and blur them a lot, but I can see the picture in all of its glory and I can also quickly change my wallpaper with it.
  • K-9 Mail’s works well, I know I just complained about it, but I still have it on a second screen since, even if its light themed it is quite handy to have.
  • Geometric Weather has a big collection of beautiful widgets and its a beautiful weather app overall. I highly recommend it!

Now that we are at it, allow me to showcase my homescreen, since its kinda nice right now, pretty inspired by old videos from Pro Android’s YouTube channel:

Some screenshots of my homescreen setup. A few widgets are showcased, including the RSS reader I did with KWGT
Some screenshots of my homescreen setup. A few widgets are showcased, including the RSS reader I did with KWGT

This is day 40 of #100DaysToOffload
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