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Why can't theme authors create new widget locations?


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This was just brought up in contributor chat again and I jumped on through to a linked topic which linked back to a long dead bug report/feature request:

This never went anywhere, or at least we never heard back on why you have locked down the locations to header, footer, sidebar. Of course we can move those around somewhat but adding in new locations altogether seems to be out of the picture without some hard coding around it. More work but doable for plugins/apps; probably not so much for theme authors who I would argue would get the most use out of adding in new/unique locations for widgets.

@Matt stated in that report that "We currently don't allow custom widget areas because we feel it would lead to inconsistency between themes?"

The bug report died about a year ago with a mention that it would be brought up internally.

So, a few questions:

1) What is the problem with inconsistency between themes? I mean, if you expect all the themes to be mostly CSS changes and are trying to keep the IPS suite looking like "the IPS suite"  I guess I get it... but with the whole idea of the core separate from the apps and the underlying system changes why lock us down like that? So some themes have more/different widget areas - isn't that the point of themes?

2) Are there any technical reasons why that if statement (if widget not flagged header, footer, sidebar then err) exists? Could it just be removed to let us run wild with locations? I see zero drawbacks if that is the case and I guarantee all theme authors would agree.

Here's Tom's final response in that report:

Comments? Answers?

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We felt it would be confusing for an administrator, if for example, they set up some widgets on one theme and then when switching to another, those widgets weren't there.

I think this is a really interesting idea though - could you maybe provide some examples of how you might use this in your theme? Since this isn't really a question, I'll go ahead and move this over to the feedback forum.

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