How to Create a WordPress Widget: 4 Killer Tutorials You Should Read

There comes a time in every blogger’s life when they yearn to create their own WordPress widget.

They grow tired of the default selection of widgets that ship with WordPress, and try as they might, they just can’t find what they’re looking for in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to step up your game and . . .

How to create your very own WordPress widget
your very own WordPress widget!

Getting started with widget development

At a minimum, you’ll need the following:

  • An understanding of the Widgets API
  • At least a passing familiarity with PHP scripting

If you’re still a bit hazy on the whole concept of WordPress widgets, and how and why they came to be, you should probably brush up on your general knowledge before you take a crack at any development of your own.

Check out the introductory section on widgets in the WordPress Codex, which will point you in the direction of some other excellent resources for further reading. You could also take a look at this page on the Automattic blog for some additional background on how widgets became a part of WordPress.

Four excellent tutorials on creating WordPress widgets

If you’re ready to take the plunge and write your own widget, we’ve scoured the interwebs and rounded up some high quality tutorials to help you get the ball rolling. These resources should help you immensely on your journey to glorious Widgetdom. They’re arranged roughly in order of complexity, from simplest to hardest.

How to Create WordPress Widgets

from MakeUseOf.com

This tutorial focuses on creating basic widgets with limited functionality. A good place to start for first-time widget developers.

Creating WordPress Widgets

from Azulia Designs

Another entry-level tutorial that gives you a broad overview of creating widget-enabled plugins, as well as widgetizing WordPress themes. Well-written and easy to follow.

Build Your Own WordPress Widget

from Johnathan Andersen Design

This tutorial is getting a little more into the technical ends of things, with a more detailed writing style and greater level of assumed knowledge. If you can get your head around the first two articles, this one should take your widget writing skills to the next level.

Advanced WordPress Widgets

from WP Roots

Another higher-end tute that takes you right into the meaty heart of advanced widget development. It’s quite long and detailed, so we’d recommend reading the more basic articles first, and making sure your PHP knowledge is up to scratch.

Over to you – have you attempted to write your own WordPress widget? How did it turn out? Can you recommend any good resources for learning widget development?

Featured Plugin - WordPress Infinite SEO Plugin

Fully integrated with the SEOMoz API, complete with automatic links, sitemaps and SEO optimization of your WordPress setup - this is the only plugin you need to help you rank your site number 1 on Google - nothing else compares.
Find out more

Photo courtesy of Wonderfully Complex.

Tags

Comments (18)

  1. I’m going to throw one into the Hat if you don’t mind. We created a WordPress plugin framework for just this. We posted it to a public repo available on Github at: https://gist.github.com/1229641.

    It essentially creates a Single Widget Class which handles all of the widget responsibilities. All you you need to do is create the html. You can then use Find/Replace on the Empty_Widget keyword to rebrand this class for your specific needs. It is really simple.

    We are also in the process of adding a read me / how to documentation to our blog for it. If you don’t mind I will post a link here when it is available.

    Check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks!

  2. The Johnathan Andersen Design tut is horrible. Just god awful. He uses a ridiculous amount of PHP shorthand with no commenting in the codeblocks. The blocks are sloppy with typos abound, and there are sections where it's unclear what parts of the logic you're actually writing to.

    The tut was hard to follow, and produced an invalid widget when implemented.

    • I have been trying to create wordpress widgets for a while, but unfortunately I do not succeed with it. I have gone throughthe tutorials- and decided to give one more try. Hopefully I will manage to create a widget on http://www.freshzene.com . If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Participate