History of Sidebars
WordPress has had sidebar functionality, almost from the beginning. This may be because “WordPress started out because the development of an existing blogging software b2/cafelog was discontinued by their main developers.” So, a structure for a basic blog had already been tried, tested, and improved. In 2005, sidebars started being coded as their own element, separate from posts and pages. That opened up the path to the incredibly flexible sidebar functionality we have today.
What is a Sidebar?
The WordPress core functionality makes sidebars possible. Sidebar functionality allows a website owner to manage blocks of content anywhere on their site. The word “sidebar” can be confusing because sidebars don’t have to be along the side of a web page. Sidebars can also be positioned in the header and footer, even in the main area of a post or page. Although sidebars are possible because of the WordPress core, a sidebar is part of a theme. A sidebar is merely a position, a container, that is defined on a page, post or group of pages/posts. .
Content is added into a sidebar with widgets. A sidebar can have multiple widgets. The widgets in a sidebar can be different on different posts or pages. The process of adding a widget to an existing sidebar is separate from the process of creating the sidebar in the first place. Even the WordPress menu item that allows you to add widgets to sidebars says “Widgets” instead of “Sidebars”.
How Does Is a Sidebar Created?
Most themes come with several sidebars already created. A sidebar is “created” when it is registered. That creates a database record for the sidebar, but does not place the sidebar into a template. Neither doe it format the sidebar. When themes already have sidebars, they have done all three steps: 1) registered the sidebar, 2) placed the code in the templates that place the sidebar on a post or page, 3) added formatting to the sidebar.