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Impossible Sidebar Control « Community

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Impossible Sidebar Control

  1. Justin, I'm using Structure, which I just love---but boy, did I have to do a lot of alternate sidebar files to get the right things to display in the right places.

    One thing that might have cut down on this was the ability to designate some widgets as universal, so they displayed on, say, all right sidebars throughout the site. Naturally, I also want to be able to have the flexible sidebar content you've already included in Structure, for categories, single posts, etc. Right now, I'm doing this with includes added directly to the sidebar files, and custom sidebar files for home and certain categories.

    I'm not sure this type of control is even possible in WP without users mucking about in the theme files the way I did---but I'm sure if it is, you would know how to implement it.

  2. It's definitely possible, but I don't think WordPress is "there" as a platform yet for this type of control. It's not something that's easily built because the WordPress API isn't quite refined enough for theme authors to just implement this in themes.

    I never use widgets because there's just not enough control for my tastes. However, from what I've seen, most users never go beyond just letting everything default to Sidebar Home.

    There are plugins that give more control:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/widget-logic

    Also, keep an eye out for this (I believe it might be a better widget plugin):
    http://konstruktors.com/blog/wordpress/435-widget-logic-plugin-for-wordpress

    I definitely think this is something worth discussing for all themes. The question is really about how to best implement it, especially when I think widgets are going to be in such a transitional period (for developers) in the next year.

  3. Thanks, Justin. It's good to know that I'm not crazy for not loving the whole widget experience. I'll play with the plugins, but honestly, one more plugin on my biggest site, and I'm sure the whole thing will implode!

    Maybe I should bail out on widgets altogether---something to think about next time I freshen the design of the site.

  4. It's definitely OK to not use widgets. Take a good browse around each page of Theme Hybrid outside of the forums. You'll see custom sidebars for every type of page. Once I have enough content, it'll be even more evident.

    You simply can't have this type of control with widgets, at least not now.

    Basically, what I do is create a lot of custom functions for things such as Related Pages, Topics, Tags, or whatever. Then, I use WP conditional tags to only call particular functions for whatever page the users is viewing.

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