DJ Adams writes about the Dashboard project of Nat Friedman.
Dashboard shows itself as a little GUI window on which information sensitive to what you’re currently doing (receiving an IM message, sending an email, looking at a webpage, for example) is shown.
The heart of dashboard is a matching and sorting engine that receives information (in the form of “cluepackets” – how evocative is that?) from frontend applications (like your IM and email clients) and asks the plugged-in backends to find stuff relevant to that information, which is then displayed in the sidebar-style window, designed to be glanced at rather than pored over. It’s a lovely open architecture in that you can (build and) plug in whatever frontend or backend lumps of code you think of.