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January 5, 2007

Building Your Own Personalized Homepage

Omar Al Zabir, co-founder of Pageflakes, describes in detail how you can build a personalized homepage similar to Google IG using ASP.NET AJAX and .NET 3.0 Framework.

"Among [the popular AJAX start pages], Google IG is the simplest one. The one I have built here is something between real Google IG and Pageflakes in terms of Ajax and client side richness. Google IG is mostly web 1.0 style postback model and it's not really that much of Ajax. For example, you see it postback on switching page, adding new modules, changing widget properties etc. But the one I have built here is a lot more Ajax providing rich client side experience close to what you see in Pageflakes."

The result is DropThings, a site that mimics Google's Personalized Homepage, but has a much worse performance.


  1. And the point of this would be ... ?

  2. Learn how to use the AJAX tool from Microsoft, build something cool to impress your friends.

    Omar says: "I have logged my day to day development experience in this article and documented all the technical challenges, interesting discoveries and important design & architectural decisions."

  3. Omar should spend his time improving PageFlakes instead of ripping on Google's integrated tools. Actually, he should just get rid of PageFlakes altogether because it's nothing compared to netvibes. :-)

  4. I honestly do hope that Google do make IG more like that.
    Although the speed is slower on that, it IS just a test remember, there may not be alot of resources actually being allocated for it. (then again, i'm just talking crap...or am i? >_>)

    But i do hope they make the page refresh thing a thing of the past because it can be really bad if, say you were on a chat interface, or, playing a game.
    Maybe a autoRefresh flag you can set when creating the gadgets, and when that time comes, it will refresh ONLY that gadget instead of the entire page.

  5. Omar brother will decide what he will do with his pageflakes....its none of your business :)

  6. Its really amazing article by Omar al Zabir :)...and am observing how quick Pageflakes improving day by day with its new features...congrats to PF team :)

  7. Hi Guys,
    I am not picking fight with anyone here. I respect Google very much because they pioneered in the Ajax world by making Gmail. I am just a follower. My target was to learn ASP.NET Ajax RC, .NET 3.0 and Linq. Start Page seemed like a perfect project to experiment all these cutting edge technologies.

    I improved the client side performance. See now.

  8. instead of playing around with google's tools, I think he should start to work on pageflakes to get uses like me to stop using netvibes... Whats with the note in the footer: "Dear Google, Do you have any problem with this? Feel free to let me know."

  9. Omar's is a very cool article. I am studying it. People like me who were just learning this type of programming find it very useful. I am a great fan of google. But i didnt find that he was mocking them. He is a great software architect and developer, and he was honest and open with his knowledge. Doing only one thing also make you lose your sharpness. It was just logical and healthy to play with new techs. So I dont support the negetive comments here. Its insulting a person who shared good knowledge with the world. And if you people see netvibes better than pageflakes then i must say you are missing something cool. Pageflakes is very very powerful and has more usefulness,extensibility and fexlibility than others like sharing, exporting flakes to other sites. Enjoy his article with a positive attitude, its resourceful.