August 19, 2008

Blogger Widget Problem (sectionID error) and a temporary workaround

As many of you have expressed in your comments and emails, there seems to be an issue with installing widgets using the Blogger Widget API (widget installers).

From what I have read in various forums all widget installers are affected by this, including even the Feedburner widget to add an email form or blog list to a Blogger blog.

As yet, I'm unable to devise a solution for this problem, but I can offer a workaround for those who need to add a new widget to their layout. Here are the details of the problem and a temporary solution until the issue is resolved.

The issue with adding widgets to Blogger layouts

Many of us have been experiencing problems when trying to add a widget using a third party "widget installer" such as the recent comments widget, Feedburner's email subscriptions code and even Amazon widgets.

We are able to follow any steps nescessary to add the widget to our blogs until we are redirected to Blogger's "Add a new widget" page, where we can customize the title, content and choose the blog where the widget will be installed.

At present, clicking the "Add widget to your blog" link results in a screen like this:

The top half of the screen explains that there is a missing required field in the form used to add the widget to our blog:

We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.

The following errors were found:

sectionId: Required field must not be blank
While the lower half includes a bX error code.

It seems that the API for adding new widgets may either be in the process of an update or has a temporary error as everything up to this point seems to be working fine.

There are already several threads in the Blogger help group regarding this issue and many of us are trying to work out a solution to the problem.

I will of course update this post when the problem is resolved or when we have discovered a working solution, but in the meantime we can use a temporary workaround.

A temporary work-around for the problem adding third party widgets

As far as I can tell, the API for adding new widgets works just fine up until the point of adding to a specific blog.

This means that when we arrive at the "Add Page Element" page, the code included in the "Edit Content" section should already be configured and suitable for our needs.

If you click the "Edit Content" link on the "Add Page Element" page, this will reveal the code which should be added as the widget content.

You can then copy this code to your clipboard, and paste inside a regular HTML/JavaScript gadget through the Layout>Page Elements page in your regular Blogger dashboard.

While this will take longer (and is certainly more troublesome) than the regular method to add a new widget, it is certainly preferable to being unable to add a new gadget at all!

Your thoughts on the problem?

If you have any suggestions or know of a solution we could use for the widget installation problem, please let us know about this by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

Once this issue is resolved or documented further, I will be sure to update this post with the new information so we can begin using (and developing) widgets for our Blogger blogs!

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