What do these widgets do?
They both allow you to choose to show or hide individual widgets on individual or grouped pages and posts.
Why would I need to do that?
If you want to utilize one widget area for styling purposes to always show up as a sidebar for instance but you don’t want to show a link to the shopping cart while on the shopping cart page. Or if you want a contact form in the footer of your site but you don’t want to show it on the contact page. Or if you want a short bio in your sidebar but don’t want it on your about page. Or if you only want to show a google map in the sidebar on your contact page. You get the idea.
How are they different?
I was initially surprised at the user interface of the Widget Options plugin. The Dynamic Widgets plugin works like this. You click on a widget and see a very subtle text link at the bottom which says “static”. You have to know that you must click this link to be brought to a large page full of dropdowns you have to sift through to find which page you want to not show the widget on. If you want to only show it on one page you have to toggle a checkbox at the top and then sift through the dropdowns to find the page you desire. After finding the page you desire to change the visibility settings on, you have to hit save. You are then redirected to the widget page with no indication that what you tried to do was successful. If you are trying to do something more complex such as show the widget on all posts with a category of “Featured” and on the About page… Forget about it.
The Widget Options plugin works like this. You click into the widget you want to affect, and at the bottom, there are some tabs with easy to understand icons. The default tab is the visibility icon. You start with a dropdown to switch between “Show on Checked Pages” or “Hide on Checked Pages”. You then chose what pages or posts you want to affect and check them. They are laid out by post type and taxonomy making it easy to perform complex situations. There is also a tab for mobile visibility and alignment options which is handy. Widget Options also adds a realy nice feature for hiding the widget title! I have been using css display: none; for far too long #embarrassing. There are even more options if you choose to purchase the pro version.
Which is Better?
Well, I think my conclusions are fairly obvious at the point. I can not imagine a situation where we will be using dynamic widgets in the future. I would highly recommend using Widget Options instead on all of your WordPress projects because of user experience and extended features. There you go, a quick update on why I like Widget Options better than Dynamic Widgets these days, and how to use both plugins.
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