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In WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP, Drew Falkman teaches PHP developers how to create custom functionality for WordPress 2.0 through 3.0 using widgets and plugins. This course starts by installing and setting up WordPress 3.0 on both Mac and Windows, then provides an in-depth look at tasks related to these WordPress add-ons: installing and administering, building and customizing, creating editable options and database tables, working with posts and pages, and utilizing jQuery and AJAX. There are also tutorials dedicated to promoting a widget or plugin, adding security, and localizing the interface. Exercise files are included with the course.
If we want to add new widgets to our theme, we can simply drag them from here over to there. For example, I want to add some links so I can just grab the Links widget, and it appears over here with all the options that are editable. These, by the way, are all the widgets that are available in the WordPress 3.0 installation. If you have plugins, you may see more. If you want to customize anything in your Links widget, you can go and do that here and click Save. To view it on the front-end, simply open the web site, scroll down, and you can see it's added, with this title of Blogroll.
To remove widgets, there's two ways you can do it. One way is you can grab it and drag it over into the Available Widgets page, which will essentially just remove it forever. The other way is you can drag it into the Inactive Widgets, which will save the settings but remove it from the web site. In the case of links, we were just playing around, so we are just going to remove that entirely. You may have seen how some web sites have their Facebook information or have some kind of plugins from social media web sites. The way they do that is they use the built-in text widget.
So I am going to drag that over here. I am going to open it up, and I am going to use this to display my Facebook widget. So I will just put 'My Facebook page,' and then I will go up to the Badges page of Facebook, and you can see it gives you some different types that are specifically made for those types of blogs. In this case, we can just copy the text and paste it right into our text widget, save it, go back to our web site, refresh it, and you can see it adds my Facebook widget.
So let's go ahead and take our Facebook widget, and let's put it in Inactive Widgets in case we want to bring it back. This will save all the settings for us. And then we are going to grab an RSS widget, so that we can plug a feed into our web site. I like this Gizmodo feed from gawker.com, so I am going to copy the feed URL, paste it in here, and just call it Gizmodo. I am only going to display five items; ten items seems a little extraneous. Save it.
I am back at my web site. You can see it now adds Gizmodo, and you can click any of these, and it will bring you to that web site. So WordPress has a number of built-in widgets that allow you to do a lot of customization without any programming knowledge. We looked at how to create these to use site information like the Blogroll. You can also do things with pages and posts. We also look at how to do widgets that come from other sites using the plain text widget or the RSS Feed widget.
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