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"Widgets" plugin installed + activated: still doesn't appear or work. Why? (7 posts)

  1. dibs
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I've taken the following steps:

    - Downloaded the "zip" file with the "Widgets" plugin from the "Automattic" site.
    - Unzipped the Widgets folder.
    - Read the "Read Me" file included in the Widgets folder.
    - Uploaded the Widgets folder exactly as directed in the "Read Me" file, i.e. to
    wp-content>plugins>widgets
    - Double-checked to make sure everything is uploaded correctly.
    - Activated the "Widgets" plugin in my "Plugin Management" Dashboard page.

    Theoretically, now there should be a menu choice called "Sidebar Widgets" in my "Presentation" page. However, it does not appear.

    I am using WordPress v 2.0.2, so it should work. I am using a Theme called "FallingLeaves." Thinking perhaps that the theme might not be Widget-compatible, I tried changing my theme to "WordPress Default 1.5" which is the basic theme that shipped with my WordPress. v. 2.0.2. However, even with the Default theme as my theme, no "Sidebar Widgets" menu choice appears on my "Presentation" page.

    What am I doing wrong? What steps should I take to make Widgets work properly?

    Thanks.

  2. Samuel Wood (Otto)
    Tech Ninja
    Posted 8 years ago #

    You're on the right track. Although the documentation is rather unclear on the subject, the fact is that the widgets panel doesn't even show up unless the theme has widget support.

    The Default and Classic themes that come with WordPress don't have such support, but the widgets plugin comes with both of those themes modified to have that support. So replace the default and classic themes with the ones that come with the widgets plugin itself, and then try it with those. If it works, then you need to modify the theme you want to use to support widgets.

    Instructions on modifying a theme can be found here: http://automattic.com/code/widgets/themes/

  3. dibs
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Otto42:

    OK, following (or attempting to follow) the instructions in the link you provided, I was able eventually, after dozens of false attempts, to get the Widget thing working. (Those Widget instructions are extremely un-user-friendly, especially for non-programmers like me.)

    Anyway, even though I got it working, I ended up not liking the look and feel of the Widgets, plus the main reason why I got it -- to put RSS on my sidebar -- didn't work for some reason. Instead of spending another 5 hours trying to get RSS to work with this widgets thing, I'm simply going to undo everything I did and start all over again with a new question -- this time specifically about RSS feeds.

    Thanks.

  4. Samuel Wood (Otto)
    Tech Ninja
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I'm not sure how they could be more user friendly. For most themes, you basically just have to add 5 lines of code to two files. Two lines for functions.php and 3 for sidebar.php. More if you have an unusual theme. Still, the instructions are more for theme authors, not end users. People that know PHP, in other words.

    Anyway, you can put RSS feeds in the sidebar using the info on this page of the codex: http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/fetch_rss
    This uses the same method that the RSS widgets use internally. Works great for me.

    Edit: I took a look at the Falling Leaves theme, and it uses a non-standard sidebar approach. That might have been why your "look" changed. Normally, widget sidebars should look exactly the same as non-widget sidebars. Anyway, to modify it for widgets, you'd do this:
    Create a new functions.php file, and put this in it:
    <?php
    if ( function_exists('register_sidebar') )
    register_sidebar(array(
    'before_widget' => '',
    'after_widget' => '<br />',
    'before_title' => '<h2>',
    'after_title' => '</h2>',
    ));
    ?>

    Edit sidebar.php. At the top, after the div, add this:
    <?php if ( !function_exists('dynamic_sidebar')
    || !dynamic_sidebar() ) : ?>

    At the bottom, just before the /div, add this:
    <?php endif; ?>

  5. dibs
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Otto42:
    Thanks for the extra info. You actually explained it more clearly in one paragraph than did dozens of other people on various Web sites I looked at. If I had seen your comment, it would have saved me hours of work. You have no idea how densely incomprehensible the "explanations" are for people like me who have no clue what PHP even stands for, much less is.

    Even so, after I successfully installed it, the Widgets thing just didn't work for me. I like the way my sidebar is now, and so far haven't found any use for the Widgets. I did finally get the RSS feed thing going to my satisfaction (you can see it here: http://www.dibsblog.com). I find it simpler and more intuitive to rearrange the components by hand cutting and pasting in the sidebar.php file, than by doing the weird interface.

  6. Samuel Wood (Otto)
    Tech Ninja
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Hmmm.... In the first paragraph, you say that you don't care for editing PHP because it's difficult to do (which is true, if you don't know PHP), but then in the next paragraph you say you prefer editing PHP to dragging around widgets.

    I must say I find that confusing, but hey, more power to you. Glad you got a feed working. :)

  7. maerk
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I have to say, I like getting my hands dirty in PHP myself, too. I just don't trust other people's stuff any more!

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