Widget Customizer Approved For WordPress 3.9

The Widget Customizer plugin is now cleared for takeoff and will land in WordPress 3.9. During the core development meeting today, the plugin was approved to be merged into the WordPress trunk. The days of editing widgets blind will soon be over, as widget editing with live previews will now be a native part of the WordPress publishing experience.

widget-actions

Weston Ruter, the project’s lead developer, submitted a detailed proposal on the new feature last week. After several rounds of feedback and testing, the feature needs only a few minor adjustments and a bit more polishing in the accessibility department before making its debut in WordPress 3.9.

What Can You Do With The Widget Customizer?

If you haven’t tested the plugin yet, prepare to be impressed. The widget customizer offers live previews for every action associated with widgets, including:

  • Editing existing widgets
  • Adding a new widget
  • Reordering widgets
  • Dragging widgets to other sidebars
  • Removing widgets entirely

Widgets have long been one of the most user-friendly and approachable features in WordPress. The original WordPress widgets feature was actually first built as a plugin and then brought into core. When Matt Mullenweg first introduced widgets in WordPress 2.2 (Getz), he described their purpose:

WordPress Widgets allow you to easily rearrange and customize areas of your weblog (usually sidebars) with drag-and-drop simplicity.

The new widget customizer feature seems like a natural fit for the original intent to help users customize their sites more easily. Where would WordPress be without widgets? It’s safe to say that without this feature it would not be the CMS powerhouse that it is today. With live previews now on deck for every aspect of widget management, WordPress users will wonder how they ever lived without the widget customizer.

19 Comments


  1. Thank you for the post, Sarah! I’m so thankful for how the effort came together. It is now time to widgetize all the things! :-) I’m now looking forward to exploring how we can use widgets as content blocks inside of post content.

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  2. This is great news and a welcome addition to the Widgets interface which hasn’t had a major overhaul since 2.8. Great work Weston and the others who contributed!

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  3. I always have great difficulty getting a consistent look between all of the widgets on the sidebar. Sorry to see this ‘customizer’ doesn’t address this but, it appears to be a step in the right direction.

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  4. Great plug-in, even better to see it merge into core. Way to go WordPress, you’re taking the right path :)

    Congrats Weston for contributing with such a useful feature!

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  5. Its going to be one of best features in next update, by the way when they going to update 3.9?

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  6. I remember it was considered for version 3.9 not so long ago, and now it’s an already confirmed feature, great!

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  7. Not sure I agree with “Widgets have long been one of the most user-friendly and approachable features in WordPress.”!! Not least because they’re hidden away under Appearance. Even if I give clients full access they always forget where these little content boxes are edited!

    It’s time for Widgets to be promoted to top-level menu alongside Media and Comments.

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    1. Hmm, there are already a lot of top-level menu items as it is, do you really think Widgets by themselves need one? Have you tried telling them about the admin bar when they are logged into the site? If you hover over the sites name, a quick link directly to Widget management appears, bypassing the need to navigate the backend of WordPress.

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  8. It would be great to see this functionality come on stream on WordPress. I am sure it would helpful to everyone, both pros and newbies.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Do have a great day.

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  9. I have a bad feeling this won’t make it in on time for WP 3.9. Nacin posted it needs a lot of work with some UI polishing, but right now support for wider-than-default widget controls hasn’t landed yet and I don’t think that’s a particularly easy nut to crack (if it was, it would have made it in months ago).

    Anyhow, this is some amazing work by Weston, Shaun and others. It’s gonna make a lot of people super happy.

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  10. Wide widgets haven’t been ignored. If you’ve been following along on GitHub, you can see that we’ve worked through various solutions, but simply haven’t found one we love. We’ll have support for wide-widgets — its not a technically hard problem to solve, its more a UI/UX problem — and I’m confident we’ll come up with a good solution.

    I don’t remember anyone saying that it needs “a lot of work,” but there are some tweaks we’re working on in preparation of being merged into core.

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