Widgetizing Your Theme

From the perspective of a plugin developer, widgets are only good if the theme the blog has adopted supports widgets. While all themes available in the WordPress Themes Directory (http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/) are required to support widgets, some custom themes do not. So, how do you ensure that your WordPress theme is prepared for widgets?

First, it's important to note that a theme can support any number of sidebars. For each sidebar supported by the theme, the blogger will have a sidebar "drop zone" in the widget interface. If there is only one sidebar, there will only be one drop zone.

It's also important to note terminology. Though sidebars are most often used with traditional sidebars, they are really only "zones" on a page. These zones could be lists, specially formatted divisions, or any other HTML markup that makes sense for designating a "zone". It is not uncommon for a theme to have one sidebar that is really the footer or three sidebars that represent three zones of a single sidebar. Really, sidebars for the sake of widgets can be anything.

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