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Widgets in 3.8

Widgets, Widgets, Widgets

What problem are you trying to solve?

This group will be focused on improving the process of adding and editing widgets in the WordPress admin. There's a few problems with the way things work now, including:

  • Widgets, sidebars, and their connection to themes is pretty confusing. There's no connection between the sidebar in wp-admin, and the area in your theme.
  • The current focus of the page is on available widgets. Sidebars only take up a small portion of the page.
  • Having more then 2 or 3 sidebars makes it terrible hard to drag-and-drop widgets around the screen.
  • Its not at all obvious how you install a new widget.
  • Its not possible (without code) to display widgets, or groups of widgets, based on certain conditions like, "only show on home" or, "don't show on single".

What proposal solutions are you interested in exploring?

When and where is your group communicating?

Not decided yet, but likely a mix of IRC (#wordpress-ui), and p2 (make/ui), with a pinch of Skype tossed in for flavor.

What has joined your group so far?

  • shaunandrews
  • jtsternberg
  • RichardTape has expressed interest
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I think about this a lot. I love the incremental steps that are on the table. However, just for the sake of perspective, I'm going to throw out a high level 2c on this.

My customers seem most confused by the sense of abstraction. On one hand, they want content that they can manicure with precision. They also want it to be responsive (thereby losing the manicured precision). And, they often want business logic such as, this widget or sidebar should only show in certain circumstances or on certain URLs.

Those are the 3 challenges that this UI needs to address.

  • content management without abstraction
  • content management with visual flexibility
  • content management with abstract business logic

For the first item, a visual frontend editor would be ideal. One where I see my page and i can drag elements wherever i want them.

This falls apart a little in the mobile context unless we have a breakpoint mode where we can adjust things in different breakpoints.

This gets completely crazy when we start talking about conditional business logic. At that point I imagine we'd need a modal with business logic configurations / queries or something.

Obviously, the problem is that we don't actually support front end widget/sidebar administration.

Should we? Is that too ambitious or crazy?

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@peterchester I like this idea, and also meet a lot of WordPress users who find the disconnect between the abstract widget backend and the presentation on the front too fiddly.

I'd be interested in helping with a visual frontend editor for widgets. Since an edit-in-place approach is unlikely to work for most widgets, because many have complex settings, I propose a "flip to edit" approach:

Logged-in users with certain privileges would be able to flip widgets to edit them – the reverse side would contain all the settings for that widget. Potentially, widgets could be added and reordered from the front end, and this could be made to work on mobile too. Is that worth exploring? Should this be a separate plugin from the backend widget rethink?

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MZAWeb commented Aug 17, 2013

Flip to edit! That'd be fantastic!

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For integrating Widget management into the Customizer, see the Widget Customizer plugin, which is also being developed in the Widgets UI Refresh plugin-as-feature group.

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