Get Proper Widgets for WordPress
I’ve always been left a little confused and underwhelmed by the default widgets that come packaged with WordPress. Whilst there are a few that are clearly useful and functional, there are also some rather bizarre inclusions. For instance, I have never seen the calendar widget used effectively (if indeed that is possible).
However, I do appreciate the WordPress dev team’s predicament. They can’t just pile 101 widgets in there and leave us newbies to it out for ourselves. And yet, why a calendar or blogroll widget is seen as vital functionality is beyond me. Then again, Hello Dolly is also bundled with WordPress, so perhaps applying logic to this situation is not the best course of action.
These thoughts were brought to the front of my mind this morning when I stumbled across a brand new plugin – Proper Widgets. Its name filled me with promise of a widget haven that would perhaps bring clarity and harmony to WordPress widgets. But was my dream fulfilled?
Extra Widgetey Goodness
In a nutshell, Proper Widgets is a package of six widgets, which either add to or intend to build upon the existing options. Those six widgets are:
- Google News
- Linked Image
As you might be able to tell from the names, the first three widgets offer additional functionality, whilst the second three intend to improve upon existing widgets. The new entrants are all rather spiffy:
As you can see, there is nothing particularly exciting going on here, but the three new widgets just offer up quick and easy ways to do things that are not immediately possible with the default widgets.
My presumption with this plugin was that the developer was intending to create common widgets that most people might want to use on their blog, which is why the Google News widget seems like a bit of a white elephant.
It’s actually a really good widget, with some handy customization features:
And yet, it seems out of place amongst the others.
The improved widgets are for the most part better than their default counterparts. Proper Posts is worthy of specific mention, as it allows you to display posts by category. This gives you a very easy way in which you can display “Recommended Posts” in a widgetized sidebar (by adding them all to a unique category).
Worthy of Default Status?
Personally, I would argue that the Posts and RSS widgets contained within Proper Widgets should replace their default counterparts. I don’t actually think the “improved” Links widget is any better, but then, I really don’t care about having a links widget.
Furthermore, I think that the Article and Linked Image widgets are pretty handy, and I would welcome their inclusion in the default installation of WordPress. The Google News one is hardly mainstream, and its inclusion still puzzles me (although it is pretty cool). Ultimately, I am sure that there are plenty of people who can make good use of the widgets available in this plugin.
Creative Commons photo courtesy of tallkev