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To: Widget/Plugin programmers

  • I just wanted to basically “state my case” here to all of you nifty programmer types that like to dabble in creating plugins and widgets and so on.

    After a number of discussions, it’s easy to see that “widgets” has a divided audience. Some people love them, others want nothing to do with them (like myself). There’s a fairly even balance here with that… and while they may be great for “newbies” – there are a lot of us “old timers” who have been using wordpress since 1.2 and really just like things the way they are in terms of using plugins.

    Lately we’ve been seeing this insurgence of “widget plugins” – that do some pretty fantastic things, however they ONLY work with widgets (which means the theme used has to be widget compatible as well).

    I guess I’d like to make a request that if at all possible, when releasing a plugin that ONLY works with widgets, for you all to consider the fact that non-widget users might enjoy the same results, and if at all possible, you could release both a widget and non-widget version when you do your release.

    Believe me, if I weren’t so busy with all the other things I’m working on, I’d try to learn programming to a deeper level (I’m a designer, WP user, and an SEO person – don’t claim to come close to having the knowledge of a REAL programmer!) so that I could create plugins left and right… but it’s just not possible for me right now, and I’m sure many others feel this way as well.

    It’s just a thought. It would really stink if the development of widgets created a “continental divide” between people, because WP is a fantastic open source piece of art – and it should be able to be equally enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their preferences.

    (Even if you personally happen to think that Monet’s work sucks the bag compared to Warhol, you still have to respect it… even though it’s older and less “modern”. It still holds value, just like non-widgetized WP does!)

    Just my $.02 – after seeing all these “widget only” plugins popping up that have no “non widget” counterparts… 🙂

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
  • What do you see as the problem with widgets? I wasn’t aware there was a divided acceptance. I don’t see a risk of a “continental divide”. It does represent a minor template modification in order to use them, but it truly is minor. If you need assistance with that, I and others would be glad to provide you with some. Perhaps you’re under the impression that making your theme widget compatible is a difficult task.

    I think the reason many people are jumping on widgets is because it allows for a regular non technical user to easily modify the sidebar of their site, and do so in a way that is independent of the theme they use. Now they can rearrange the items on their sidebar, or add items, all without touching any php code. Isn’t this an asset to someone like you who designs WP templates?

    Please don’t take this as a counter argument to your concerns. I’d just like to understand better what you concerns are, and see if they can be easily resolved.

    My “concerns” are pretty basic…

    I don’t want to use widgets. Regardless of my reasoning, it’s a personal preference NOT to use widgets. I know of a lot of other people (both on and off the forums) that use wordpress, that also prefer not to use widgets. Call it what you will, equate it to trying to get an 80 year old grandma to use the microwave… no matter. I just don’t WANT to use them. I like designing themes the way I do, I like using them the way I do, and I see no need for me to change that.

    Therefore, my “concern” is that there are a lot of shiny new “widget only” plugins. And I see that as unfair, in a way, to those of us who choose not to use widgets.

    (And yes, there have already been friendly arguments about who will and won’t use widgets… it’s a matter of preference, and those of us who don’t like them should never be forced to use them. That too, is unfair, and doesn’t make much sense for an OS project to force people to use something just because it’s LESS complicated.)

    +++++
    “Isn’t this an asset to someone like you who designs WP templates?”

    Actually, not really. Because the more non-tech a theme is, the less a client will need me. So in effect (though not nearly a cause for my dislike for them), widgets can make my design portion of the job obsolete after the point of installing the theme for them.
    +++++

    Just a reminder, as I mentioned on another thread… I’ve been using WP since 1.2. I’m no stranger to it’s capabilities, and I’ve used it to build everything from a Kubrick blog to a full blown content management system with topic specific sidebars and everything. Please keep that in mind, that it’s NOT that I’m “new” – it’s in fact, the other way around.

    I do not want to use widgets because there is so much I can do already that I don’t feel the “need” to start using them. I don’t use “sidebar.php” on two of my sites and although I can do everything I want with them and the current plugins, I don’t want to be left out if all new development focuses on widgets. I also don’t think it would be wise to force all WP users to use sidebars, footers, and the numerous “parts” of many available themes when an index, comments, and stylesheet do just fine.

    THANK YOU JENN!

    I almost feel like I’m being coaxed by religious fanatics over these damn things… lol

    Well, I am not “afraid” of widgets and I don’t think lady is either. I even widgetized one of my themes – just out of curiousity. No big deal but I did not become a fan of them.

    And I agree: if some newer features, plugins are going to force me to use them… I will start definitely to hate them 🙂
    Any “widgets-only” stuff will be annoying – please, let me the chance to decide for myself.
    Just my personal $0.02

    I certainly hope we’re not alone 🙂 I think they’re a nice function–for some people. Just as you said, I think WP is great with or without them and the users of WP should be given the option of using them or not. I’m still using “hacks” from the days before plugins, so as long as future WP development allows for loyal users to maintain their sites, I suppose that will be great. I do hope that plugin/widget developers will offer “plugins” instead of/in addition to widgets.

    moshu & jenn – i’m SO glad you guys came out of the so-called woodwork on this… aside from feeling the need to explain over and over again that i’m not new to wordpress and that i don’t see a need for widgets in my life, i was getting tired of trying to prove that i wasn’t alone in my opinions!

    thank you!!!!

    I’m not into them either. Just not my thing at all….

    Widgets? Huh? This must be some WP2 thing, right? Anyway, I don’t like them already.

    I guess I’d like to make a request that if at all possible, when releasing a plugin that ONLY works with widgets, for you all to consider the fact that non-widget users might enjoy the same results, and if at all possible, you could release both a widget and non-widget version when you do your release.

    I’ve written a number of simple little widgets, because they’re kinda fun to play with. None of them work as non-widgets, nor do I have any intentions of making them do so.

    Why, you ask? Because I’m not writing them for you or anybody else. I write things that I find useful or fun. Remember that not everybody is particularly interested in helping you specifically. If you find something I create helpful, then that’s great. I’m glad I could help. But if what I write doesn’t fit your needs, and you’re not paying me to write something else, well, I’m of the opinion that you can either write it yourself or do without.

    So you don’t want to use widgets. Fine. Good for you. You can do whatever you want to do, and I have no issues with that. But at the same time, I don’t want to take the time to write non-widget versions of my plugins. Why? Because I have no need of them. You may not like it, but that’s just tough luck. I write the things I want to write.

    If it wasn’t for widgets, I probably would not have started writing plugins or learning the plugin system for WordPress at all. Widgets are interesting to me. Old-style plugins where the user still has to go in and hack PHP templates are not. Those form of plugins are not difficult to write, but they’re also kind boring and uninteresting. The only people that will use them are other programmers, because they generally require template hacking to make them work. Widgets interface a bit more directly with the user, and IMO they support a greater level of customization (although that’s a bit of a long argument as to why I say that). I just like making widgets more than making non-widgets. HTML/PHP… that’s sorta old hat. But the idea of creating pages in blocks and then dynamically positioning those blocks, well, that’s new and interesting.

    BTW, my prices are very reasonable, so if you’re interested in a custom plugin, email me. 🙂

    ladydelaluna,
    I’m not sure if this is the kind of thing you were looking for, but the plugin I mentioned in the older thread which was firstRSS also has a ‘sideRSS’ component which lets you feed RSS into the sidebar. I use it myself and found it very useful and easy to customise.

    As for the scrolling marquee I suspect that would involve wrapping some javascript around the list produced by the plugin. I know nothing about javascript though, so I can’t say I’m sure it would work.

    RSS is already built into wordpress, you don’t necessarily need a plugin for it. Just use the MagpieRSS functions.

    require_once(ABSPATH . WPINC . '/rss-functions.php');
    $rss = fetch_rss($url);
    foreach ($rss->items as $item ) {
    echo "<a href='".$item['link']."' title='".$item['title']".'>".$item['title']."</a>";
    }

    You can do a var_dump($rss->items) for testing, to see what information you have available to you in the feed.

    Are MagpieRSS functions built into WordPress?

    Yep. Look in /wp-includes/rss-functions.php.

    Thanks – I had no idea. Would it be possible for a script like the one above to create a cache periodically?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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