[2.0] Widget area for plugins

Mark threads with "[2.0]" for discussions about features in the longer-term future, "[1.6]" is for short-term. This is not the place for general discussions or plugin or template requests. Only features that are approved to happen by the core team should be listed here for better structuring.
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garvinhicking
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[2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by garvinhicking » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:49 pm

YellowLed? :)
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yellowled
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Re: [2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by yellowled » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:37 am

Here, sir! :)

Yeah, I know. This is hard to describe and even harder to get. I'll try. :)

For "advanced" templating, the concept of sidebars is kind of a slowdown. In "modern" templates, sidebars are no longer classic sidebars -- we have horizontal sidebars, tabbed sidebar widgets and would like to place a single plugin at some place of a page which isn't even a sidebar.

A widget area would be different from a sidebar since it would have a fixed number of plugins which could be emitted in the widget area. It is probably most easy to understand with a tabbed widget: To create that, I could use a sidebar. Let's say it would be possible to place 4 sidebar plugins in that tabbed sidebar before the tabs break to a second line, which is not desirable. However, a user can put as many plugins into a sidebar as he wants. Limiting the number of plugins in that sidebar would simply give template designers more control. Also very handy for grid-like designs using horizontal sidebars -- let's assume a 800px grid with a limit of 4 plugins; this gives us a nicely aligned sidebar with 4 widgets (200px each) which won't break.

So maybe we don't really need an additional sidebar type called "widget area", but it would be nice to be able to limit the number of plugins allowed in a sidebar. :)

YL
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Re: [2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by garvinhicking » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:26 am

Hi!

But is limiting the number of plugins really a good idea? Let's say someone wants to have 4 plugins with the tab keys:

"This is my sister", "this is my father where he plays football" and "you can click this tab to see all my other fotos that do not fit the category, heh!"

While someone else wants to have 10 tabs:

"Pics 1", 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

So while the first one would not work, surely 10 tabs only with numbers would work fine.

A restriction by number doesn't sound feasible to me. By characters is a problem as well, because the actual lengths depends on the actual font size and could vary, depending on the CSS that the user chose.

So I'm personally all for not restricting the place, and simply telling the user that he has a specific area available for the sidebar, and should not exceed it. For that, we could add a config.inc.php variable so that you can emit HTML formatted "help" below each sidebar in the plugin manager?

Regards,
Garvin
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Re: [2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by yellowled » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:57 pm

garvinhicking wrote:Let's say someone wants to have 4 plugins with the tab keys: [...] While someone else wants to have 10 tabs:
I think the use cases for this would be templates in which the template author sort of "suggests" specific plugins for a "restricted" sidebar, i.e. like in the WP premium template. For example, a tabbed area could be intended for archive plugins only, i.e. archives, categories, tags and search.

I agree that flexibility is a good thing, but in some cases too much flexibility makes it very easy for users to screw up. Take Bulletproof: It offers a lot of flexibility with a huge number of theme options to tweak next to everything. For some users, a lesser number of options might be better since they would be overwhelmed by the number of options.

YL
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Re: [2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by garvinhicking » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:19 pm

Hi!

Hm, I still don't like the idea of reducing flexbility. I as a user want to be able to stuff everyting in the place I want it, and if it fits, no template should restrict me only to pick X amount of plugins or even only plugins A, B and C...

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Garvin
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Re: [2.0] Widget area for plugins

Post by yellowled » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:44 pm

I have to admit I have a hard time finding better arguments for this. :)

Since this is a concept adopted from WP and Drupal, I might get back to you on this once I get a chance to take a closer look at what benefits widget areas offer in those systems, however. :wink:

YL
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