The Highlight HEALTH Network RSS Dashboard Widget

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Highlight HEALTH, I’m pleased to announce the release of the Highlight HEALTH Network RSS Dashboard Widget, which provides one-click access to the latest posts on the Highlight HEALTH Network. The widget is designed for use on the Apple Dashboard.

Highlight HEALTH Network RSS widget screenshots

The front of the widget, showing the latest articles on Highlight HEALTH and the newest additions to the Highlight HEALTH Web Directory:

Highlight HEALTH Network dashboard widget front

The search bar at the top of the widget allows you to search the Highlight HEALTH Network. Search results open in your browser. The scalebar at the bottom of the widget allows you to show the full feed, a reduced amount of content or titles only.

The back of the widget, showing additional information on the feeds currently aggregated on the Highlight HEALTH Network:

Highlight HEALTH Network dashboard widget back

Widget installation

To install the Highlight HEALTH Network RSS widget, download the zip file. If you’re using the Safari browser, it should automatically unzip it and start the installation. A small window will open, asking “Do you want to install the widget ‘HighlightHEALTH’ and open it in the Dashboard?”. Simply click install and you’re done.

If you’ve downloaded the zip file and nothing’s happened, double-click the file “” to unzip, then double-click the widget to install.

The Highlight HEALTH Network uses a full-text feed, formatted in RSS 2.0. While developing the widget, I was surprised to find that Apple Dashboard widgets displaying RSS 2.0-formated feeds don’t allow you to drag the scrollbar or scalebar. You have to click on the scrollbar or scalebar in order to scroll or scale the content. In my tests, scrolling also worked using the scroll ball of an Apple Mighty Mouse or the trackpad of a MacBook Pro laptop (tested on Mac OS X 10.4.11 “Tiger” and 10.5 “Leopard”).

For interested developers: The Feedburner feed format can cause issues with Apple Dashboard RSS widgets. Specifically, users can’t drag the scrollbar and scalebar, and any tables in the feed block content from being rescaled. Converting the feed format to Atom 1.0 fixes both issues, even if SmartFeed is active (SmartFeed is supposed to override any Convert Format settings). However, all page styling is lost and full feeds are not supported.
UPDATE: April 20th, 2008

Version 2.0 of the widget now aggregates content from Highlight HEALTH 2.0. The download links above have been updated. Enjoy!

UPDATE: April 16th, 2009

Version 2.1 of the widget is now available. The download links above have been updated.

About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.