How to Add WordPress Widgets to Your Themes

At the Boston WordPress Meetup on Nov. 29th, Jeremy Clark of Simian Uprising, gave an excellent presentation on widgets, at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center. Clark is a PHP, HTML, CSS and WordPress hacker from Montreal, who works for the nonprofit citizen media site, Global Voices.

According to the WordPress Codex, “WordPress Widgets (WPWs) are like a plug-in, but designed to provide a simple way to arrange the various elements of your sidebar content (known as “widgets”) without having to change any code.”

The Widgets SubPanel explains how to use the various Widgets that come delivered with WordPress, and the Widgets page at Automattic explains how to ‘widgetize’ themes and plugins.

Clarke’s presentation (see it on SlideShare) included these topics:

  • Intro: What are widgets?
  • Basics: Defining and using sidebars
  • Details: Sidebar options and settings
  • Ideas: Creative ways to exploit widgets
  • Considerations: Tips and advanced techniques
  • Creating new widgets

Though I don’t have extensive theming or PHP/HTML knowledge, Clark’s presentation was still helpful, because it gave me a better understanding of WordPress, under the covers. It also made me more aware of the kinds of questions I should ask to make sure a theme supports widgets. (For more tips to ensure your theme supports widgets, see 10 Checks to the Perfect WordPress theme.)

Clarke’s informative presentation (see the video at the Boston WordPress site) came after pizza and the opportunity to network, with about sixty other Boston WordPress fans, in a very comfortable and accessible venue.

According to Boston WordPress organizers James Coletti and Kurt Eng, there won’t be a Dec. Boston WordPress Meetup, so be sure to check out the Boston WordPress Community page, for presentations in the new year.

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