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Ideas

Widgets and Sidebars should work like Menus

  1. Jesse Friedman
    Member

    This is a summary of the post I wrote here: http://jesserfriedman.com/a-call-to-change-wordpress-widgets/

    I propose that Sidebars and Widgets work exactly the same way as menus. As a User Admin you'll be able to define “Widget Holders” (we can use a more elegant term) similar to defining menus. Once these holders are defined we can fill them with widgets and order them how we like.

    Theme developers will then define “Widget Holder Locations” (currently known as sidebars but again we’ll come up with a more semantic and elegant naming convention). Once these locations are defined we can select which widget holders to place in each location in the same manner we define menu locations.

    This immediately separates widgets from the theme allowing them to remain accessible and available to the User Admin regardless of how many times they change themes.

    The Benefit is “Theme Independence” allowing User Admins to change themes without worry of losing their widgets and sidebars.

    I know how much work is put into defining widgets. I utilize sidebars throughout all my client projects and placing, editing and ordering widgets takes a lot of work. Even defining a new sidebar between two others throws off the entire widget order. It’s tedious and unnecessary!

    I also have clients who run specials and monthly campaigns. With this new Sidebar Widget solution we could define as many Widget Holders as we want and later switch them in the Widget Holder Locations. So we can have a traditional aside with “Recent Posts” and other related widgets. We can also define a second widget holder to house our monthly campaign content. When it comes time to run the campaign we can just change our widget holder selection in the location dropdown, just like in the menu area. Saving and restoring widget holders is just the tip of the iceberg in benefits.

    Posted: 3 years ago #
  2. Brandon Carroll
    Member

    12345

    I completely agree with this. WordPress cannot become a true CMS with the limited widget system that's currently in place.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  3. bdollproject
    Member

    12345

    I have been using Woo SideBars to create new widget areas so that each page can have it's own custom sidebar. I think this would be a great feature to add.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  4. Susi I fully agree with your message Jesse Friedman.
    I use WordPress for many of my sites and this idea for improving pluins is very good.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  5. James Reyes
    Member

    12345

    I completely agree. This would really make WordPress into a truly mature CMS. I've faced the same headache with my clients, especially when swapping themes.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  6. braque
    Member

    That will be really goo, also Thanks "Bdollproject" I use woothems but I did not know about woo sidebars. I really looking something like that. I think that will help me a lot, until we'll see some kind of capability from wordpress.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  7. Uffe Fey
    Member

    12345

    The sidebar/widget system has been longing for a big update for years now! I agree that it has to be done, but I'm not convinced the proposed solution is the right one.

    Definition of sidebars (creation of sidebars without editing theme files) is really not a big deal. I've been doing that for years with a custom post type that defines sidebar names (which are then loaded and a call to register_sidebar is made for each post), and then a custom panel on the edit post/page screen that makes it possible to select which sidebar to use. All it takes is a few lines of code.

    The real challenge is to get a hold of the many, many different uses of sidebars and widgets and rethink how it should work, while keeping backwards compatibility. I create quite complex enterprise/high-end WP solutions and usually use sidebars for defining grids (columns of custom widgets) and editable areas that aren't otherwise editable (usually using the default text widget). I almost never work with blogs, but I guess the old and tired traditional sidebar is still heavily used by bloggers. The new unified solution has to cater to all these use cases and more.

    Oh, and while we're at it, I suggest (demand, actually) making it possible to export and import widget settings. It's a no-brainer. It HAS to be done.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  8. Slabescu
    Member

    12345

    I completely agree with Jesse Friedman. Every time I change theme at my blog (based on wordpress), widgets give me great trouble...

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  9. Dieta Dukana
    Member

    I just read your post @Jessie and you have some valid points but at the same time I think that it would be very confusing for the users if widget and sidebars would work exactly like menus. Something should definitely be done with widgets and you are definitely on to something here but your idea in my opinion should be modified a little.

    Posted: 2 years ago #
  10. derekjoseph
    Member

    I agree with Jesse.. it would be much easier if we can work on side bars as we work on menus... but i think that widgets should work differently than side bars and menus ...

    Posted: 2 years ago #

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    45 Votes
  • Status

    Good idea! We're working on it

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