[wp-hackers] GSOC2013: Widget Collections..

Alexander Höreth a.hoereth at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 22:36:18 UTC 2013

Hey everyone!
I am Alex and am studying Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück,
Germany. Until now I've only got one plugin  in the repository [1],
currently working on a second plugin and a first publik theme. Before I
already created some websites using WordPress as CMS.

I would like to contribute to WordPress as part of the Google Summer of
Code. I am open to project ideas, my current idea proposals are the

*1. Widget Collections*
The Idea is basically to overhaul WordPress core widget handling, while not
changing anything for theme designers. My input for it comes from [2].

At the moment the backend presents sidebars where you can stuff your
widgets in. When changing the theme your sidebars break apart and you have
to reassign all individually. For bigger sides this can be quite a pain.
Also some sites change their sidebar setups on a regular basis.
This is where "widget collections" hooks into: The idea is to be able to
group widgets into collections. The backend layout mostly would stay the
same. When widgets are assigned to an sidebar and the theme changes they
will automatically be assigned to an collection on their own which will
hold them together and be represented by a dashed line around the widgets
which are part of this collection in the "inactive widgets" box.
Collections can be dragged to a sidebar just like single widgets can. Also
users will be able to assign names to the collections.

When hovering an sidebar which contains widgets users will be able to
create a collection from the assigned widgets. So they can move the whole
collection to the inactive widget section.

Sidebars will be able to hold more than one collection at a time. Adding
new widgets to collection should work just as adding widgets to sidebars.
You could say that collections are "widgetized sidebars". Drag, drop and
assign them like widgets, but they hold widgets like sidebars do.

*2. Supercharge Text Widgets
* Depending on how long 1. takes I would also like to approach
"supercharging text widgets" [3], because it goes hand in hand with 1.

I think the best way to do this is save the content of text widgets as a
post of their own, add basic tinyMCE capabilities (text-styling, lists,
links) and (maybe) add a "full editor" button which would open a restricted

* 3. Code editor overhaul with code revisions etc
* While I guess 1+2 will be enough for me I also think that a code editor
(plugin and theme) revision system would be nice. There was already an
"theme versioning" [4] project in 2011, but it is quite outdated and does
not work with 3.5 for me. If this would be introduced as core featured it
would also be good to overhaul the editors. At the moment the editors are
nice to have, but not really usefull. No line numbers or anything. There
are plugins which fix that, but I think a lightweight enhancement without
blowing the sources up should be in core. Same about on the fly child theme
creation like [5] (did not test it). This would really come in handy when
users need to edit theme files to make plugins work and would help plugin
authors when supporting their users ("fork this theme including single.php,
paste this code into it"). But I think the code editors have not changed in
ages, did they? Any thoughts on this? I do not think to be able to fit it
in gsoc, but would be keen to introduce this in trac and help on it in the

This mail got longer than I expected it to.. Looking forward for some
feedback! :)

[1] http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/featured-video-plus/
[3] http://codex.wordpress.org/GSoC2013#Supercharge_Text_Widgets
[4] http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/theme-versioning/
[5] http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/one-click-child-theme/

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