Customizer Team Proposes Image Widget for WordPress 4.8

WordPress contributors to the customizer have published a merge proposal for a new JavaScript and REST API-powered core image widget. The new widget interfaces with the WordPress media library to provide a simpler, more intuitive experience for adding images. No new widgets have been added to core since the Custom Menu widget was included in 3.0 nearly seven years ago.

Image widget demo optimized

The current method of inserting images into widgets is a multi-step process that many plugins have attempted to simplify. Hundreds of thousands of WordPress users have installed a plugin with this feature. The Image Widget plugin, created by Modern Tribe, is one of the most popular with more than 500,000 active installs.

Widget architecture in WordPress currently relies on PHP and AJAX, but the new image widget will follow the recent trend towards JavaScript interfaces.

“In the time since WP_Widget was introduced in 2.8, WordPress has made dramatic shifts toward developing interfaces in JavaScript, including with the Customizer in 3.4 and the Media Library in 3.5, and more recently with the focus on the REST API,” contributors said in the proposal. “Given that the media widgets are naturally interfacing with the media library JS, it is necessary that the media widgets make use of JavaScript to construct their UI instead of relying on PHP.”

Customizer component co-maintainer Weston Ruter noted in the comments that the new proposed image widget also allows for external images to be embedded by URL. This is a feature that Jetpack offers in its image widget. The new core widget will support both use cases that WordPress users are already familiar with from popular plugins.

The image widget is the first of several planned JS-powered media widgets, including video, audio, galleries, and slideshows. Ruter said progress on the video widget is coming along well and he anticipates it will likely land next. Contributors have begun work on the audio widget, but Ruter said galleries and slideshows are a higher priority.

Matt Mullenweg, who is leading core development this year, confirmed in his quarterly update today that the image widget will be considered for 4.8.

“The plan is for the larger block-driven customization work to kick off in June,” Mullenweg said. “Prior to that, we’re focusing on widgets and other low-hanging fruit. Lack of developers slowed us down the last few months, now doing better but could still use more help there. Media widgets + WYSIWYG on text widget seem simple but will have a big user impact.”

Contributors on the Customizer team are asking for developers and users to test the new image widget. The latest version of the plugin is available on GitHub. The Core Media Widgets plugin is also available on WordPress.org.

10 Comments


  1. I think it would also be nice to include an option to specify a url the image could link to when clicked.

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    1. Totally! ? That’s accounted for in the widget — you can add a link both when you’re picking the image, and if you go back and edit it later.

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  2. I would love to see this. There are so many users that want something simple for putting an image in a widget area. The Image Widget is great but would be nice to see it in core.

    Others choose not to install another plugin and use the text widget with HTML, but for many, there is still that small learning curve in order to do that.

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    1. I agree with Bob. I try to keep number of plugins low as always the plugins add the overhead and usually some branding and upgrade notices.

      So I use text widget at the moment, but even if you have tons of experience with HTML the flow is painful, because one needs to go to media library first to upload the image, get the url and then go to create the widget.

      Great addition to core!

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  3. This is an awesome idea. I’ve been using the image widget in Jetpack, but this seems to have a better UI. It’s nice to have it in the core, so normal users can just use it.

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  4. The WSIWYG on text widgets will be fantastic

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