A widget area is a container that can accommodate one or more widgets – say a text box, an RSS feed, the latest post in a category etc..
They make it possible to display chosen content in the desired area(s) of the chosen page(s).
Catalyst includes powerful and flexible Custom Widget Area functionality that caters for the design, layout and styling of widget areas to suit almost any requirement.
It also includes EZ Widget Areas, which is what I am going to look at in a little more detail here.
In a previous Feature of the Week Post I looked at how the EZ widget functionality in Catalyst can be used to add widget areas to Pages and Posts.
That particular post showed how easy it was to add a block of widgets to the footer area of the Front Page and also set it to appear across all other Pages too.
The result looked like this:
EZ Widgets in the Footer Area
That’s great and very useful, but often the requirement is to have widget areas on the Home Page.
The EZ Widget Area functions cater for this very easily.
As shown in the previous post, Feature Top and Fat Footer Widget areas can be included on any page including the Home Page, whether the Home Page is set to display posts or a static page in the WordPress Settings > Reading options.
The content of the Home Page itself though can be set to display its own EZ widget areas – either instead of, or as well as, the Feature Top/Fat Footer Areas.
To do this go to Dynamik Options > EZ and select the Static Homepage radio button
Static Homepage EZ Widget Selection
Selecting this will display the Homepage layout selected in the field underneath. In this case ez_home_3_3_3.php has been selected. This will display three rows of three equal size widget areas.
Other layout options allow for different numbers of widgets in different numbers of rows. So you could have for example, ez_home_wide_left_2_3.php which has 2 widgets on the top row and 3 on the bottom, with the top left widget being wider (it will occupy the same width on the top row as the left and center of the three widgets on the bottom row).
The options are comprehensive!
The result of the 3_3_3 layout is shown here:
Using a EZ Homepage Widget Layout
As you can see, this layout has also got Feature Top and Fat Footer Widget Areas selected. These can be selected or deselected as desired, but are included here to show the full potential for EZ Widget Areas on a Home Page.
In the example shown above, the WordPress Settings (WordPress Settings > Reading) were set to display the latest posts on the Front Page. The EZ Static Home Page layout overwrites that content.
If the WordPress Settings were themselves set to display a Static Page (say the About Page) as its Front Page, using the above options, the EZ Static Home Page layout would also overwrite that. The difference being that the About Page would be the one displayed as the Frontpage – as you can see from the Navbar menu in the following example.
WordPress with Front Page Set to Display the About Page as a Static Page
Without an EZ Static Homepage, the About Page would display as the Front Page (Home Page) as you can see looking at the Navbar Menu and Page content here:
WordPress Static Front Page with EZ Homepage Layout Deselected
Now when we select the EZ Homepage layout we get the following result:
WordPress Static Front Page with EZ Homepage Layout Selected
In this case the result looks similar to before, but the About Page is being displayed by WordPress as the Front Page, the EZ Static Homepage layout is then being displayed as the content for that Page.
So, as you can see, Catalyst Theme provides a wide variety of options for displaying Widgetized layouts on Home Pages and other Page layouts.
p.s. Check out other Feature of the Week Posts here in the Blog to discover other great features that Catalyst provides to make site development easy!
And don’t forget the Catalyst Theme Cheat Sheet for more information on how to make the most of Catalyst Theme.