Give your page wings: the WordPress Side Content Plugin

Technology Blog

I wrote this plugin to provide similar functionality to the Drupal Side Content module. It makes it easy to have unique sidebar content on any page. Yes, it gives your page wings – or its own widgets, anyway.

If you see any PHP errors on activating the plugin then the most likely cause is that you are using PHP 4. This plugin requires PHP 5.

Example of use: In the side bar for this article you can see an example widget the content of which was created using this plugin.

Download the plugin.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Install and activate the plugin in the normal way.
  2. On the settings page for Side Content, enter the names for your widgets, one per line. (These will also be the names of your custom fields). Save your changes.
  3. On the Design->Widgets page, you’ll now see your widgets listed and you’ll be able to position them as you like in your sidebar(s).
  4. Edit a page (or post) for which you want one or more sidebar content widgets. The widget entry areas will be found in a sub panel headed “Side Content Widgets”. In each area enter the HTML (including any heading) you wish to appear. The widget content will be saved along with the rest of the page or post.
  5. Tip: use the HTML editor for the page to create content for a field, then (in HTML mode) cut and paste it into the custom field value area.
  6. Note: it now works with both pages and blog posts.
  7. Note: as of release 0.7 the plugin includes support for the new WordPress shortcode API.
  8. Note: as of release 0.6 the plugin is compatible with WordPress-MU.
  9. Note: as of release 0.5 it has its own subpanel on the edit page.

Although the plugin does not require any theme changes to be made, it does provide a useful API function that can be used in templates to adjust page layout if required. To call it, code as follows:

if(function_exists('the_side_content')) {
if(the_side_content()->has_widgets()) {
// template adjustments for side content widgets
// alternatively, you can test for a particular widget by name
if(the_side_content()->has_widgets('mywidget')) {
// template adjustments for side content widget 'mywidget'

Note that this plugin requires PHP5. Compatible with WP 2.5 through 2.8.1.

Download the plugin.

124 Responses to “Give your page wings: the WordPress Side Content Plugin”

  1. KC

    Does not work for WP 2.8.6

    I installed it on WP 2.8.6 and there’s a problem. The other normal widgets have lost all their formatting and appears as plain html text.

    I also installed it on my test site running exactly the same thing except WP2.8.4 and it works as expected, no problems.

    Anyone else have similar experiences in 2.8.6?


  2. GBarr

    It’s working fine for me with 2.8.6. Love this plugin. Between it and Widget Context I’ve got complete convenient control over my sidebars.

  3. AG

    hi,I’m experiencing a little problem on WordPress-MU 2.9.1; when I’m adding new custom field content,after i click Save – it disappears.any advice appreciated.
    thank you for this useful plugin.

  4. James

    wordpress 2.9.2 this plug in works awesome but on pages its used it seems to cause other sidebar widgets to not appear. specifically, my theme has two sidebars, left and right, and i’m using this plugin to put custom content in the left sidebar and using the right sidebar normally. on pages without custom leftside content everything appears fine, on pages with the other sidebar ‘vanishes.’ thoughts? and any plans to keep this code up to date with wordpress, because as far as plugins go this is one of the most useful out there.

    the site i’m referring to is (im working on rolling out a new website but havent put it on its final domain yet).

  5. N_S

    I have to agree with one of the commments above. It works on some 2.9.2 websites but I’ve just installed my wordpress fresh now.

    Upon activating the plugin this error message popped up;

    Plugin could not be activated because it triggered a fatal error.

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING, expecting T_OLD_FUNCTION or T_FUNCTION or T_VAR or ‘}’ in /nfs/c06/h04/mnt/97648/domains/ on line 18

    Another issue is shortcodes fail to display in the sidebar – especially if you use mappress plugin.

  6. Alfred Armstrong

    @N_S: the PHP error is caused by running under PHP4. Shortcodes won’t work automatically except for plugins using the new Shortcodes API. Otherwise some extra code is needed.

    @TradiArt: I haven’t tried it with WP 3 yet, sorry.

  7. swcomm

    This plugin is fantastic – the only thing that would make it even better is the ability to use TinyMCE or some kind of WYSIWYG editor in the widget editing panel so one didn’t have to write HTML code. Other than that, this is perfect – using it to display a custom photo, video and/or testimonial per page in my sidebars.

  8. NacaYoda

    I think WP 3.0 breaks this pluggin. Unfortunately I upgraded my site 🙁

    It doesn’t break completely… but “Updating” a WP page reverts the contents of the Custom Fields back to what they were vefore the WP 3.0 upgrade.

    If the last thing I do is Update the Custom Field with the info I actually need in there, it saves okay. Kinda screwy. Don’t suppose a fix could be made?

    Thanks for a great pluggin. Fool me for upgrading 🙁

  9. Ted

    The potential of what I am reading about this plugin sounds great!

    I cannot get it to work at al1!

    I am using WP 3.3 and the DeepFocus Elegant Themes theme.

    I have followed all directions to the letter. Does this plugin work with 3.3?
    I am sorry if I am overlooking the obvious…is there additional training on-line concerning this plugin?


  10. Ted

    Just wanted you to know that I am using WP 3.3 and have just downloaded your plugin and it is working beautifully!

    I just started testing it but it is looking really good!


  11. Ted

    To solve the mystery of my two blogs…
    I started the first blog and at that time I was not able to get the plugin to work. I stayed with it and began getting results. So it must have been user error. Now it appears that I am getting the results that I had hoped for!


  12. Alfred Armstrong

    Ted, thanks for your comments. Glad you got the plugin working in the end. I don’t have much time to work on it right now, so it’s good to hear it’s still working with newer versions of WordPress.

  13. Cristiano

    I’m not quite sure how to say this; you made it exrteemly easy for me!

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