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I found the correct API on this and there's no way to extend the length :(
Yup, I also came across this but usefully I found that I could mix old SDK methods with new ones in the galleryInfo.lrweb file so the WPGUIPanel.TextInput still allows longer fields. One hopes that Adobe will address this functional regression at some stage. It is tricky this SDK stuff since I only have recourse to the SDK 2.0 currently offered by Adobe as I didn't download the 1.0 version for LR1 so thanks to those folks that don't use Luac compiling - reading other web engine examples are great for trying to understand this stuff.
That's the course I took, simply going back to WPGUIPanel.TextInput.
While I do have a feature request in to extend the length of f:_labeled_text_input, Matthew Campagna also has one in for a checkbox option as a parameter. That way you can both add the text and opt to have it in or out in one content_column..
As to Luac compiling, I use it on my for sale gallery, but the freebies have plenty of commented out code to look at (in disgust at the mess, no doubt)!
Also I've future feature stuff built in, commented out, which isn't fully working, so I wouldn't want folk working from that.
There was no SDK initially, so the only way to learn was by dissecting other galleries. I went through doing the XSLT versions, but much prefer the newer Lua galleries.
Anyway, back to the grind.