A weblet is similar to, but different in several ways from a minisite or microsite. Although a weblet is similar in that it is a type of Internet web design, its main differences are as follows:
1. It is a site that is “usually maintained by a single individual”. The first reference to the term weblet seems to have appeared in a report produced for NASA numbered RNR-94-017, dated back on October 6th, 1994 and entitled “Spinning a Useful Weblet”. The definition this document used in relation to a weblet was as follows: “A highly interconnected portion of the World Wide Web devoted to a particular end, usually maintained by a single individual or organization and located at a single site.”
2. Another key difference is that weblets allow users the option to download content and read it when they’re off-line with a feature called a “Downloadable Weblet”. The fact that weblets can be downloaded provides the unique ability for users to both display and download professional looking content with a polished appeal, similar to that of a brochure, magazine or glossy hand out. Downloads can be in the form of one or more pages and references can span multiple pages that link between individual pages for viewing offline. Creating a downloadable weblet requires an approach slightly different from creating normal Web pages.
4. Weblets are meant to assist non-technical, non-web-savvy people to better publish professional looking web content without the use of identical-looking web templates and without having to know anything about programming in HTML and other computer programming languages. This allows non-developers an easier and quicker way to create and keep up their web site or a supplementary extension to an existing, primary website, by use of subdomains.
5. The term weblet is also used by Microsoft as a means to modify settings that control the functionality of an Enterprise portal”. Also, web applications referred to as webapp can also be purchased or designed, uploaded and executed as an added component to a weblet.
Concluding remarks from Al Globus and Chris Beaumont of NASA included the comment that “indexing issues need to be worked out.” Also, the article mentions that web content requires rigorous editing and reviewing. The complexity of creating web content continues to be difficult and has acquired a reputation for being sloppy and of low quality. They further mention that although the Web is a superb means of disseminating technical information to a large audience at low cost, these documents must constantly be kept up to date. A sustained large effort would be needed to provide a significant utility to update web sites in a much easier way.
SInce 1994, better software has been developed to enable non-technical users to update their websites as weblets; these continue to improve. Today non-technical users are able to use tools that they are already familiar with such as their Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation and Publishing software to update content on there website that dynamically generates HTML and Adobe Flash websites and publishes these to weblet servers.
In addition, there are many add-ons called weblet tools available to help the non-technical user. There are tools to optimize the weblets for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), streaming video, voice annotation and other functionality.