What are Magento widgets? If you are a WordPress developer or got something to do with WordPress theme customization you must have known how widgets make your life easy. Basically Magento widgets are dynamic or sometimes static blocks which are placed on the frontend (Store view of your website) to display custom features. Like any other widget Magento widgets also have predefined set of configuration options. For an example if you want to show latest 5 blog post titles or latest tweet you might use some widget rather than code directly on your store pages.
Wordpress theme developer have harnessed widgets so well, unfortunately i don’t see people using widgets in Magento more often. One reason of not using Magento widgets could be less awareness about this awesome functionality present in Magento.
Magento Enterprise Edition Version 1.6 and Magento Community Edition Version 1.4 offer accessibility to these cool Magento widgets. Typically, widgets are more like Magento extensions where extension developer provides configuration options/steps for front end behaviour for any functionality. (Frontend visual blocks).
Magento Widgets allow business users with no technical knowledge to easily add dynamic content (including product data, for example) to pages in Magento Stores. This allows for greater control and flexibility in creating informational and marketing content through administrator tools, enabling intuitive and efficient control of content such as:
- Dynamic product data in Marketing Campaign Landing Pages
- Dynamic Information such as Recently Viewed Items into Content Pages
- Promotional images to position in different blocks, side columns and other locations throughout the storefront
- Interactive elements and action blocks (external review systems, video chats, voting and subscription forms)
- Alternative navigation elements (tag clouds, catalog image sliders)
- Create interactive and dynamic flash elements easily configured and embedded within content pages for enhanced user experience
- And Much more based on your imagination and needs
- Frontend Block – an element which creates the visual output either by assigning visual structure or by producing the actual content.
- Magento Widget – a frontend block that implements a special widget interface which allows for having different configuration options per each block instance, and the ability to have multiple independent block instances on pages.
- Magento Widget Instance – a concrete block on a single page or multiple pages which receives its configuration options as defined by a store owner in the backend. The same widget can be added to the frontend multiple times producing multiple instances of the same widget.
I hope this will be enough for you to understand the basics of Magento widgets. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences of using Magento widgets. Please leave me a comment and let me know.