I had occasion the other day to run a shortcode inside of a text widget. You know shortcodes... we talk about them all the time. They are keywords in [square brackets] that do something special. Sometimes something really simple like returning a string (so you can have a global location to change that string) or something complicated like call a plugin that does something fancy like build a photo gallery.
This ain't gonna work "out-of-the-box"
After tinkering with some far-too-complicated solutions, someone on Twitter helped me with a deliciously simple solution: Just add this to your functions.php file:
This will ensure that the text content of widgets is parsed for shortcodes and those shortcodes are ran. Awesome.
Stephanie Leary wrote a great article on Using Shortcodes Everywhere, which covers this as well as using shortcodes in a bunch of other places: Comments, templates, excerpts, etc.