Bookshelf – books on learning WordPress
Six superb books for varying levels of expertise:
Digging into WordPress, by Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr, features well over 300 pages of regularly updated WordPress wisdom. From setup and configuration to security and optimization, Digging into WordPress is jam-packed with useful information on learning WordPress. Beautifully presented with easy-to-read type and color-coded chapters, it’s both a joy to read and highly practical — right from the get-go. What’s more, it also contains a wealth of resources — including heaps of copy-and-paste snippets — and provides access to an exclusive range of decent-looking WordPress themes. Oh, and did we mention that purchase of both the printed and pdf versions (when bought through the official Digging into WordPress website) includes access to free lifetime updates of all future versions? Seriously, if you haven’t already, take a look!
Starting with a brief history of WordPress, The WordPress Anthology consists of 12 chapters. The topics of these range from the basics — such as the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, how to properly install WordPress, and understanding the infamous WordPress loop — to considerably more advanced subjects — such as creating custom taxonomies, the WordPress API and rolling our your own networks with WordPress Multisite. Professionally formatted and extremely readable, The WordPress Anthology is a well-written, whirlwind tour of WordPress that teaches, informs and inspires. If you’re already relatively comfortable with basic developer skills (including HTML, CSS and PHP), and want a book that’ll help lay the foundations of a solid understanding of WordPress, then this could be just the ticket!
Regularly updated, beautifully formatted and easy to read, Smashing Magazine: Beyond the Blog aims to help intermediate-level WordPress users/developers work on a range of different projects with WordPress, including photo galleries, forums, eCommerce sites and more. Beginning with the basics, Hedengren divides his book into four parts: ‘Getting Started with WordPress’, ‘Designing and Developing WordPress themes’, ‘Using Plugins with WordPress’ and ‘Additional Features and Functionality’. He tackles a range of different (and important) subjects — from the anatomy of a WordPress install to displaying RSS feeds, sending email with WordPress, and advanced theme usage. Additionally, he provides an extremely welcome two-part appendix listing various ‘Essential WordPress Plugins’, many of which really are awesome, and ‘Starter Themes’, such as Starkers, Roots, Toolbox and Bones.
The missing manual series’ tagline is ‘The book that should have been in the box’, and should WordPress ever come in a box it sure would be nice if this book were in there with it, because, for non-techy types, WordPress can often seem more than a little daunting! Although there’s admittedly a wealth of beginner-oriented information online, it’s sometimes nice to just have everything you need to get started all wrapped up in a box… ahem… sorry… book! If you’re just getting started and are unsure where to begin, then this jargon-free book on learning WordPress could well be just the introduction to creating websites with WordPress (both the .com and the .org version) you’ve been looking for.
Beginning with a brief, general introduction to WordPress, Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress takes readers from the basics of WordPress theming to considerably more advanced topics, including custom fields, shortcodes and custom functions, and responsive WordPress theming. Written by veteran WordPress developer Jesse Friedman (an active and engaging member of the WordPress community), this book is aimed squarely at anyone interested in developing themes for WordPress, and is both easy to understand and quick to read. If you’re already familiar with web design in general, and want a book that’ll help you get started in the world of theming for WordPress, this could be the ideal resource to spur you into action.
Currently in its second edition, Professional WordPress: Design and Development consists of 16 chapters and more than 400 pages of WordPress design-and-development-related content. It covers a range of topics, including: The loop; data management; custom post types, taxonomies and meta data; and statistics, scalability, security and spam, as well as a few lesser-covered subjects, such as working with WordPress locally and WordPress Multisite. Designed to give readers/learners a comprehensive understanding of WordPress from the inside out (focusing on the internal structure and flow of the code, as well as the data model on which the code operates), Professional WordPress: Design and Development aims to bridge the gap between expert PHP developers (people comfortable reading the WordPress Codex in lieu of a manual) and the casual WordPress user. It’s recommended for anyone looking to take their WordPress development skills to the next level!