View Full Version : Difference between category & menu (moved from Design and Development)

12-01-2010, 04:15 AM
I'm just wondering in WP what the difference is between a category and a menu. And what is the difference between a widget & and a plugin?

Once again thanks for your help. :)

12-01-2010, 12:00 PM
Categories are groupings of posts.

Menus can contain any links, most commonly to your pages, but could go anywhere (offsite, to a category page, whatever).

Plugins extend what wordpress can do. Widgets are configurable little bits of content that get displayed on the site.

12-01-2010, 12:25 PM
Pretty much what Matt said. Categories are a way to group posts and your categories can be set up as a menu or part of a general menu. A menu could include more than categories and doesn't need to include categories at all. Typically your menu will include links to your pages (home, about, contact, etc) as well as a link to your main blog page if you're running a blog. Categories more typically appear as a submenu within the blog section of your site.

There's no right or wrong though. It's really up to you in regards to how to set up categories and whether or not to include them in your main navigational menu, a submenu, or not at all.

Here's a video from WordPress.tv that explains categories and tags (http://wordpress.tv/2009/09/20/lorelle-vanfossen-tags-categories-portland09/). It's not specifically about menus, but I think it does a good job explaining why something would be a category and why something would be a tag. I think it will help give you a better understand of categories in general.

Plugins and widgets are essentially the same thing. A widget has a little bit of extra coding to make it easier for non-developers to add to the display to a WordPress theme. Not all WordPress themes will create areas where widgets can be added (though the better ones will). Instead of you having to look through the code of your theme to figure out how and where to add the display of a plugin, a widget lets you drag and drop it through the admin side of WordPress.

Some plugins don't ever need to be a widget as they have no visible display. A plugin like Akismet for example that exists to catch spam, doesn't need to appear anywhere on your theme so it doesn't need a widget. A plugin that exists to show content from your Twitter stream of Facebook page on the other hand would naturally be something you want to display somewhere in your theme and so adding the extra code to make it a widget would make sense.

In the end both are really the same. A widget just makes it easier for non-developers to add the display to their theme.

Harold Mansfield
12-01-2010, 01:03 PM
Just wanted to add that Widgets are drag and drop. If you have a sidebar, more than likely is widgetized. You have a number of default widgets with Wordpress.
You can view them and apply them in Appearance->Widgets.
Some plug ins will add functional widgets.

There is no rule to where a theme maker might put widgets. It can be sidebar ( the most likely) but it can also be footer, a mid section or where ever.