More choice with WordPress widgets

Some interesting moves going on with the free hosted blog service in the area of ease of use in design and layout that adds to its attraction as an alternative to TypePad, the hosted service you pay for.

Coming this week are WordPress Sidebar Widgets, functionality that lets you click-and-drag elements around in your blog sidebar in as easy a fashion as you already can with TypePad Typelists.

I’m especially interested in this as I’ve been experimenting with Sidebar Modules for K2, the theme that this blog uses on the WordPress platform/application you install on your own server (ie, not the hosted service). After some initial difficulties with it, I’ve now got the modules working fine. These modules work in a similar fashion to the new widgets, ie, Ajax/JavaScript based that you click-and-drag on your screen to position them where you want. (Modules, widgets – what’s in a name?)

What’s key about this functionality is that you don’t need to know anything about the underlying code, nor have to dive into that code, in order to include and lay out the elements you want in your blog sidebar. That ease-of-use is one of TypePad’s key appeals. And the sidebar is a pretty important feature of your blog that provides visitors with a structure to enable them to easily navigate through your blog to find the things they’re interested in or that you want them to see, and which doesn’t distract from the primary content, ie, your posts.

I also have a blog which I’ve not really done much with. Now’s the time for a bit more experimenting.

I’d imagine that widget functionality will make its way across to the WordPress application soon. Then you’re in an interesting area of comparison with Movable Type which, as far as I know, doesn’t have such functionality. Yet.

Speaking of K2, expectation is mounting about the coolness of the next version (it’s currently in beta). According to developer Michael Heileman:

[…] The next version of K2 will, and I’m being pretty humble here, blow itself out of the water. Any day now.

Very interesting choices for bloggers.

[Technorati: typepad, wordpress, movable type, k2 theme]

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Bryan Person

    I installed some blogs with WordPress a couple of months ago, and I haven’t really looked back.

    One of my initial concerns was the installation process, which I thought would be daunting. But I use Dreamhost as my web hots (Neville, I think you may now as well), and its “one-click install” of the blog onto my site truly made that process dead easy.

    Making my way through all of the PHP pagelets did take a significant chunk of time, given that I don’t know PHP. Now I’m working on doing that again for a soon-to-be-launched blog (I hope) that will focus (I think) on online communications, so the release of WordPress Sidebar Widgets couldn’t have come at a better time.

    With all of these incredible options from WordPress — and let’s not forget that it’s also FREE — I can’t imagine even considering another blogging platform for the foreseeable future.

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