Widget is a broad term that can refer to either any GUI (graphical user interface) element or a tiny application that can display information and/or interact with the user. A widget can be as rudimentary as a button, scroll bar, label, dialog box or check box; or it can be something slightly more sophisticated like a search box, tiny map, clock, visitor counter or unit converter.
The term widget is understood to include both the graphical portion, with which the user interacts, and the code responsible for the widget’s functionality.
In the field of computing, the term widget first became popular when operating systems started supporting GUIs. It was used to refer to each element that would make up an application’s GUI. A button, scroll bar, label, check box, panel or option button were all known as widgets. In Visual Basic, they were also known as controls.
Today, the term widget is more often used of any small application placed in the sidebar of blogs or websites. They are typically installed by simply copying and pasting a small piece of code from the widget provider’s site to your own site.