Sprout. Very cool interactive widget maker goes way beyond most alternatives like Yourminis or MuseStorm. In fact it’s probably safer to say that these are mini-websites that you can design, build and embed on your site in minutes.
There’s a huge selection of content and design components you can use, and although it’s early days, it’s clear that the developers have plans for lots more template and content material as time goes on. The editor/builder is a straightforward WYSIWYG layout tool with full drag and drop and more tools than you’ll probably need. It’s also delivered with the full complement of slide out Ajax loveliness, which means that designing and creating a mashup or widget is pretty much a no-brainer exercise.
First define the size and shape layout of your widget, then drag and drop content onto the design. You can upload your own multimedia content, e.g. video or RSS feeds, and add in a wide range of effects, colour and designs. You even get to include link tracking so you can check how popular your content is once deployed.
The multiple pages and multi-tabs is really what sets Sprout apart, and in fact makes it more akin to a full web site designer service, than a mere widget maker. There’s a limited set of default templates available in the beta, but the ones that are there provide a good example of the type of thing you can create. I found the beta a little slow to use, despite – or maybe because of – the Ajax elements, but I’m assuming that the final version will be a snappier affair all round.
All in all this is an ambitious product which will no doubt gain fans among the quick and dirty web creator brigade. That’s not to dismiss it in any way, as these tools are an invaluable way to enhance basic web site design if you’re on a budget and in a hurry, and for many people that’s really as far as they want to go.
Definitely one to watch.