This is a summary of the post I wrote here: 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 in accesible 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.
I must agree with Jesse, as a new WP user, it took me days of fiddling around to figure out that a sidebar can go virtually anywhere…. not just on the side !!!
The terminology is misleading.
Widget holder, widget spot, location, whatever… but not sidebar. I believe its old terminology from when widgets could only be added into a sidebar, but if this is no longer the case, then change the name to suit the function.
I wonder how many others have been confused by this naming convention.
My 2c worth!
This is on the list of things. The UI/UX folks are going over it. There are some drawbacks to the menu styling, such as the limit for items :/
This is a project that I’ve been working on developing for a client. I plan on releasing it as an Extend plugin in the near future 🙂
+1 that widgets must somehow be locked in for a particular theme. The way things stand now, widgets are a “reconstruction project” waiting to happen the moment one changes themes.
Also – it would also help a great deal if any “logic” associated with a widget (such as Widget Logic) could also be saved. Right now, even when widgets are reset in a theme, the logic must also be reconstructed.
Any improvements in this area would be most welcome.
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