(MB) YouTube Widget

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The YouTube videos widget lets you quickly display your most recent YouTube videos in your blog's sidebar.

Author:Mechabyte - Matthew Smith (profile at wordpress.org)
WordPress version required:3.0
WordPress version tested:3.6
Plugin version:1.05
Added to WordPress repository:20-12-2012
Last updated:02-08-2013
Warning! This plugin has not been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.
Rating, %:74
Rated by:3
Plugin URI:http://www.mechabyte.com
Total downloads:11 010
Active installs:100+
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The YouTube videos widget lets you quickly and easily display your most recent YouTube videos in your blog's sidebar.


  • The YouTube videos widget is fully-based on the WordPress Plugin API.
  • Uses hooks and filters to allow for maximum hackability by theme designers and developers.
  • Organized straightforwardly so that it's easy to modify and style.


The YouTube videos widget is ready to use as-is, although you can easily customize it to your liking with a bit of code.

You can also insert a plain list of your recent videos into posts and pages with the shortcode mechabyte_youtube. For example, to load 5 videos from freddiew that open in new tabs, you'd use [mechabyte_youtube username="freddiew" videos="5" tab="true"].

Custom Styles

The YouTube videos widget loads it styles by hooking into WordPress' wp_enqueue_scripts action. To remove the default styling you need to remove the our enqueue_scripts function from the hook.

    remove_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', array( 'mechabyteYouTube', 'enqueue_scripts' ) );

Custom Output

The end user has two options of displaying their YouTube videos: in plain or decorated lists. When modifying the output of the plugin you must use one of two filters that this plugin uses: mbYT_construct_plain and mbYT_construct_decorated. Before you add your own functions to either filter, you must remove the default ones that are used automatically: mbYT_construct_plain_default and mbYT_construct_decorated_default.

    remove_filter( 'mbYT_construct_plain', array( 'mechabyteYouTube', 'mbYT_construct_plain_default'), 10, 3  );
    remove_filter( 'mbYT_construct_decorated', array( 'mechabyteYouTube', 'mbYT_construct_decorated_default'), 10, 3  );

Now it's time to get creative. When creating a function that will loop through the videos you have complete control over how you want to display the content. Just keep in mind that in the end, you should be outputting <li> elements. When filters are being applied to the YouTube content, there are three arguments that are being passed through: $youtube_videos (array, the array of videos), $number (integer, the number of videos the user wishes to display), and $tab (boolean, a true/false value of whether or not the user wants to open video links in a new tab). Keep in mind that you have access to the following pieces of information when creating your video loop:

    $item['title'] // Video title
    $item['videoID'] // Video ID
    $item['viewCount'] // Video view count
    $item['published'] // Video publish date -- UNIX
    $item['duration'] // Video duration in hh:mm:ss
    $item['numLikes'] // Video likes count
    $item['link'] // Video link
    $item['image']['default'] // 'Default' thumbnail (low quality)
    $item['image']['mqdefault'] // Medium quality thumbnail
    $item['image']['hqdefault'] // High quality thumbnail

Here's an example of some code that adds a custom function to our mb_construct_plain filter (assuming we've already removed the default functions). Keep in mind the 3 at the end. That lets WordPress expect our three arguments that will be passed through. Check out WordPress' add_filter() page for more info.

    add_filter( 'mb_construct_plain', 'construct_plain_example', 10, 3 );

    function construct_plain_example( $youtube_videos, $number, $tab ) {
        $output = '';
        foreach( $youtube_videos as $youtube_video ) {
            // If we've reached the user's display limit, end the loop
            if( $i == $number )
            $output .= '<li>';
            $output .= '<a href="' . . '"';
            // If the user has selected to open videos in a new tab, specify the link target
            if($tab) {
              $output .= ' target="_blank"';
            $output .= '>';
            $output .= $youtube_video['title'];
            $output .= '</a>';
            $output .= '</li>';

        return $output;

Pretty basic, but it allows you to see a general example of how to loop through the objects and return the modified data. The above code will produce a list element like this one:

    <li><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L-rrkyvApU" target="_blank">Real Life Portal Gun</a></li>