The standard WordPress Text widget is fine for anyone who knows HTML, but for the millions of WordPress users who wouldn’t know a closed tag from a ham sandwich the Text widget just doesn’t cut the mustard. Now, thanks to Danny van Kooten, a young WordPress and web developer from the Netherlands, WordPress newbies and aficionados at every level have a neat solution for adding rich content to their widgetized theme locations—it’s a plugin called WYSIWYG Widgets.
What You See Is What You Get…more or less
WYSIWYG (the acronym for What You See Is What You Get) in this case is synonymous with TinyMCE—the built-in WordPress toolbar in the visual editor. WYSIWYG Widgets calls the TinyMCE editor and displays it in a neat Thickbox presentation centered on your screen. The standard toolbar will appear above the editing field, so users can manipulate their text by highlighting it and choosing an option. You can add links using the Insert/edit links tool, create lists, format text and so on. By adding the TinyMCE Advanced plugin to your plugin folder, you can extend the toolbar with more options.
Upload/Insert Media Anywhere
Perhaps the best part of the widget is its capability to import, upload and insert media from your computer or from the native WordPress Media Library. Images, video, or other media is now easily accessible for placement anywhere in a dynamic widgetized location on your website. For many WordPress users, this feature will probably be the cat’s meow since they’ll be able to add images and text together for a more unified presentation.
How WYSIWYG Widgets works
Working with WYSIWYG Widgets is far easier than pronouncing or typing the plugin’s name (fortunately). Drag the widget to the appropriate sidebar location, open it up, click in the text field and then enter and edit content in the text editor window that appears quite magically at center-screen. When you’ve got your content looking just how you want it, click the Send to Widget button. Suddenly, the editor vanishes and all your lovely rich content is converted into a terrifying string of HTML markup. The best thing to do is to REMAIN CALM. The HTML in the box is what’s supposed to be there. The rich content presentation that you created will appear on the front end of your website.
WYSIWYG Widgets Issues
Even with the capabilities noted above, this plugin may not be the perfect solution for every situation. Even though it looks like the WordPress visual editor, at its heart this is still just a text box; it’s not a content post. Buttons added to the toolbar by other plugins—even if they appear—probably won’t be functional. You can’t upload native WordPress galleries, either. And the toolbar seems to have conflicts with some other plugins. On one install, I noticed that a conflict removed many of the functions that people may want, such as the application of color and styles to selected text.
Would we recommend this plugin?
Yes, definitely. In particular, the WYSIWYG Widgets Upload/Insert media capability is a quick and easy way to place an image with some text and links. You could easily add a styled list of links to create extra navigation or place spot content with a graphic as a promotion or aside. Although using post-based solutions for placing content as we do with our Netoro framework is the preferable method since it provides more flexibility and options, the WYSIWYG Widgets plugin is a good choice for quick additions to any WordPress website.