Custom Sidebars Pro & Sidebar & Widget Mgr by OTWthemes

Sorry I've had to slap this into the General category but, you know, not everything has a category.

So, one of the older sites I manage uses a plugin called Page Builder (which is still being developed) which is a kind of weird framework builder. It lets you create rows at either 100% or segment the row into columns of different widths. It's not very sophisticated.

But because the client's theme came with about 3 different page templates, I started using a Page Builder column to stack widgets. That's what Page Builder is for. You can put any widget in any row or column.

To give myself more sidebar options than those that came with the 3 templates, I started using Sidebar and Widget Manager by OTWthemes and its been okay but neither Page Builder or Sidebar Manager will let you do one simple thing - wrap the container in a class. It's hard to duplicate the look of a sidebar when you can't wrap a bunch of stacked widgets...

So I've already got all this installed and it's been running forever. Now I have YOUR Custom Sidebars Pro which I want to use, however I have a (maybe irrational) fear that it's going to have a fight with Sidebar and Widget Manager that will make a battle scene from Game of Thrones look like polite disagreement.

Do you have any information on Sidebar and Widget Manager and whether it can play nicely with Custom Sidebars Pro? I can't just up and disable Sidebar and Widget Manager without the site falling down.

Thanks for whatever info you can offer.

  • Michelle Shull
    • DEV MAN’s Apprentice

    In the game of widgetized sidebars, you win, or you break your site. Valor Widgalis.

    I have not personally tested Sidebar and Widget manager with our Custom Sidebars Pro, but you are not foolish to consider the possible negative outcomes before you start pushing buttons. Here's what I would do, were I you, Ser Webwerker:
    1. Use our snapshot plugin to take a "picture" of your site as it is right now, before you activate our Sidebar plugin. This way, even if everything gets totally borked, you can go right back to where you are now.

    2. Know that even if you deactivate Sidebar and Widget manager, all the settings will be saved, so turning it back on should completely restore it to the current settings. Deleting it could mess up your day, but deactivating it is just telling WP to ignore those files. So the risk of bork is extremely low.

    3. Page Builders are so cool, but they can be a giant PITA, I urge you to tread carefully with the one you're using. I say this from experience, it's really hard to undo everything a Page Builder (of any stripe) does, so, if you can, try to add the elements you want with your own devices, just in case that particular page builder would become unsupported at some time in the future.

    D. I might consider bypassing many of these plugin solutions and instead look at making a child theme, copying the relevant template files to your child theme, and adding the class yourself. Using a child theme means your changes won't be over-written when the theme updates, and it will give you a lot more control.

    Have a great Friday! Don't tease any dragons.

  • webwerker
    • New Recruit

    Thank you Michelle. I am sitting on a dragon egg as I write.

    Since I am mainly just providing service, support and upkeep for "my" sites, for this site I haven't much wanted to build some new templates to expand the themes paltry offerings because I just haven't wanted to spend that much time on it.... But I suppose I will. And, of course, I always use child themes.

    Also, a note to you (and by "you" I mean WPMU). It's easy to misread, at least it was for me, the details about being given an option to wrap the container with a class. I took that to mean I could wrap the "sidebar" with a class, not just each widget in the sidebar.

    That's something that very handy since every widget these days has the handy class of .widget (it's almost as bad as an ID) but it would ALSO be nice to be able to wrap YOUR "sidebar" in a class without having to build a template to include a sidebar that has a wrapper into which your sidebar goes. This would make it much easier to treat it like a component rather than as a singleton. I haven't played around with replacing sidebars or substituting sidebars yet. Maybe doing this maintains the overall style of the sidebar.

    But anyway, it would still be nice to be able to have the option to wrap any sidebar I create with Custom Sidebars Pro. I promise I will wrap each one with a unique ID!

  • Michelle Shull
    • DEV MAN’s Apprentice

    I think this is a great idea, and I agree we should be a little more clear in our documentation on this feature and what it can't and can't do.

    So, what I can do is move this to Features and Feedback, where our devs are likely to see you, mention the feature at our next staff meeting, and give you some reputation points for being both very smart, and very cool.

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