I've been following numerous tutorials and codex pages in order to make my own widget in WP 4.0. It seems as though I'm very near; I can output something from the widget, just not any of the fields.

In banner.widget.php I have the following:

class bannerWidget extends WP_Widget {

        public $id_base          =  'banner_widget';
        public $name             =  'Banner Widget';
        public $widget_options   =  array(
                'classname'     =>  'RandomPostWidget',
                'description'   =>  'Displays a random post with thumbnail'
        public $control_options  =  array();

        function bannerWidget() {
            parent::WP_Widget(false, $name = __('Banner Widget', 'banner_widget') );

        function form($instance) {
            // Check values
            if( $instance) {
                $title = esc_attr($instance['title']);
                $text = esc_attr($instance['text']);
                $textarea = esc_textarea($instance['textarea']);
            } else {
                $title = '';
                $text = '';
                $textarea = '';

            <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('title'); ?>"><?php _e('Widget Title', 'wp_widget_plugin'); ?></label>
            <input class="widefat" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('title'); ?>" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('title'); ?>" type="text" value="<?php echo $title; ?>" />

            <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('text'); ?>"><?php _e('Text:', 'wp_widget_plugin'); ?></label>
            <input class="widefat" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('text'); ?>" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('text'); ?>" type="text" value="<?php echo $text; ?>" />

            <label for="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('textarea'); ?>"><?php _e('Textarea:', 'wp_widget_plugin'); ?></label>
            <textarea class="widefat" id="<?php echo $this->get_field_id('textarea'); ?>" name="<?php echo $this->get_field_name('textarea'); ?>"><?php echo $textarea; ?></textarea>

        function update($new_instance, $old_instance) {
            $instance = $old_instance;
            // Fields
            $instance['title']     =  strip_tags($new_instance['title']);
            $instance['text']      =  strip_tags($new_instance['text']);
            $instance['textarea']  =  strip_tags($new_instance['textarea']);
            return $instance;

        public function widget($args, $instance){
            extract( $args );
            // these are the widget options
            $title = apply_filters('widget_title', $instance['title']);
            $text = $instance['text'];
            $textarea = $instance['textarea'];
            echo $before_widget;
            // Display the widget
            echo '<div class="widget-text wp_widget_plugin_box">';
            // Check if title is set
            if ( $title ) {
                echo $before_title . $title . $after_title;
            // Check if text is set
            if( $text ) {
                echo '<p class="wp_widget_plugin_text">'.$text.'</p>';
            // Check if textarea is set
            if( $textarea ) {
                echo '<p class="wp_widget_plugin_textarea">'.$textarea.'</p>';

            echo '</div>';
            echo $after_widget;


add_action('widgets_init', create_function('', 'return register_widget("bannerWidget");')

In functions.php:

function make_sidebar_area() {
    register_sidebar( array(
        'name' => 'Test Sidebar Area',
        'id' => 'test_sidebar_1',
        'description' => 'Test sidebar description here',
        'before_widget' => '<div>',
        'after_widget' => '</div>',
        'before_title' => '<h2 class="rounded">',
        'after_title' => '</h2>',
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'make_sidebar_area' );

And finally in index.php I have:


This outputs the following, but none of the filled-in widget fields are showing:

<div class="widget widget_bannerwidget">
    <div class="widget-text wp_widget_plugin_box">

Could somebody please tell me where I'm going wrong?


Using the_widget() denies those $instance variables being set, which they normally are when you stick it in a Sidebar in the back end.

Try something like this:

the_widget('bannerWidget', array(
    'title' => 'WordPress rocks!',
    'text' => 'Hello World.',
    'textarea' => 'Some content for the textarea'
) );

the_widget is for hard-coded widgets. To use the one placed in your custom sidebar, replace the_widget() with this:

echo '<ul class="sidebar">';
dynamic_sidebar( 'test_sidebar_1' );
echo '</ul>';

dynamic_sidebar is for displaying all widgets inside of the specified sidebar (passing the sidebar ID), where the_widget is for only rendering a specific widget, usually only used for something that has no options that need to be edited.

  • Well that certainly outputs something, but I need to have the widget configurable from the admin section. I guess I should be using something other than the_widget() - any advice on that? Edit: Aha - I posted this comment before you edited. Thanks. – verism Oct 8 '14 at 13:17
  • Normally you should create a sidebar and put it there. – aifrim Oct 8 '14 at 14:06
  • Yes @verism, I made the answer more complete after reading it over. :) – Eric Holmes Oct 8 '14 at 17:36

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