[wp-hackers] dynamic_content?

Jeremy Clarke jer at simianuprising.com
Mon Mar 21 16:57:53 UTC 2011

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 9:55 AM, Lynne Pope <lynne.pope at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm firmly in the camp of, "if it aint broke, don't fix it" and prefer to
> leave names alone.
The functions themselves aren't inherently broken but the semantic meaning
of 'dynamic sidebar' has been a total misnomer since the moment it was
committed. Not only does 'sidebar' have a VERY SPECIFIC meaning in the world
of web design (not stated in your dictionary definition but likely obvious
to everyone on this list nonetheless) but the word 'dynamic' in this case is
totally useless. Are there non-dynamic 'sidebars' that are handled by the
API somehow? Why not show_* or display_*?

This only needs to be changed once ever in the history of WordPress and then
it can be fine forever, and the change is worth it. There is also a very
good explanation for why this problem came about: WP has become a full CMS
capable of all kinds of layouts and moved away from the 'blog layout' in
which 'sidebar' was an accurate description of where widgets usually went.

Before the widgets API no one thought about modular layouts with tons of
sidebars because users would have no good way to edit them, so it makes
sense that during the *design* of the sidebars API the developers didn't
have the right perspective on how to name them. After the fact it is easy to
see how the mistake was made and also to imagine ways of fixing it so that
new users can understand it easily and with less cognitive dissonance.

FWIW I'm with Nacin in thinking that the renaming should also come with some
new features so that it's not JUST a renaming but also a technical upgrade.
This would help give the change meaning and motivate some people to switch
to the new way just to get the new features.

Here are some ideas for desirable upgrades to the Widget Area system that
would make sense:

   - Argument to make a registered sidebar display wigets in a random order.

   - Argument to set a maximum number of widgets for a given sidebar, after
   which none can be added.
   - Argument to set a minimum number of widgets for a given sidebar, below
   which the sidebar won't be saved.
   - Argument to set default widgets to show in case none have been added
   via the wp-admin UI.

Jeremy Clarke • jeremyclarke.org
Code and Design • globalvoicesonline.org

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