இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!
This was the first detailed book on WordPress that I read and, along with reading lots of informative articles on the wordpress.org Web site, I learned a ton from this book. Now, how much you get out of this book may depend upon how deeply you intend to dive into WordPress. If your main goal is to install WordPress, load a free or premium theme, and just create a simple personal blog for your Web site, you may not need the wealth of information that is offered in this book. There is plenty of information on both the wordpress.org and other Web sites to help you set up a WordPress installation, especially if you just want to blog on wordpress.com or your Internet service provider provides one-click WordPress installation and set-up routines. However, the moment that you start wanting to tweak your WordPress installation, customize the theme that you installed, work with plugins, organize and develop a large complex site, get into the setup of advertising, or use it for your company's site, it would be good to read a book like this to learn more about the back-end infrastructure of WordPress, even if you are not a hardcore PHP programmer.
Readers who may be interested in this book fall into five categories:
1) "WordPress Personal User": You are interested in going beyond just blogging from a wordpress.com or Blogger account and want to set up a WordPress installation on your own Web site for use as a blogging or content management platform, but you have no programming experience.
2) "WordPress Business User": You are interested in setting up a WordPress installation, combined with a theme, for your company or business, but you have no programming experience.
3) "Web Designer": You are familiar with HTML and CSS, but you are not that familiar with PHP, CGI programming, or other programming or scripting languages.
4) "Web Hacker": You may still be a Web Designer, or someone who is proficient in programming or scripting in one or more languages like Java, .NET, or Perl, and even though you may not be a total PHP Ninja, you can combine this book with a good PHP programming book (or online PHP resources) to hack your way through code modifications.
5) "Experienced PHP Programmer": You are familiar with Web technologies and also are comfortable with PHP programming.
Since this book is called "Professional WordPress (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)", you would obviously get the most out of this book if you are at least familiar with coding HTML and CSS (e.g. a Web Designer). PHP programming is not that arcane compared to other programming languages and if you are proficient at hacking your way through an existing code base, the examples in this book will still be helpful to you in modifying an existing WordPress installation, even if you do not know PHP programming. But even if your technical knowledge of Web plumbing ranks below that of a Web Designer (who usually knows HTML and CSS but may not know programming languages), about two-thirds of this book is still useful for someone who wants a better understanding of how WordPress works and how to use it and configure it effectively.
Chapter 1, "First Post", pages 1-18, describes the history and a nice overview of WordPress, installing WordPress and possible installation problems, and creating your first post.
Chapter 2, "Functional Overview", pages 19-48, provides an excellent overview of WordPress components, WordPress concepts, pages and posts, and overviews of how you can extend WordPress using themes and plugins.
Chapters 1 and 2 are useful and accessible to anyone interested in installing, setting up, and using WordPress.
Chapter 3, "Code Overview", pages 49-64, starts to talk a bit about the code, but focuses more on the configuration components of WordPress, plugins, themes, and media directories, and the important wp-config.php and .htaccess files (which are important to anyone setting up a WordPress installation). This chapter is highly useful and understandable to all levels of WordPress users.
Chapter 4 through Chapter 7, pages 65-182, provide a wealth of detailed information for both Web hackers and professional programmers, including code layout, the WordPress "Loop", database schema and taxonomy, and plugin development. For Web Designers, WordPress Business Users, and WordPress Personal Users, the 100+ pages here may be too technical. And non-programmers would likely search for a plugin of interest from the plethora of freely available plugins that are searchable on the wordpress.org site anyway.
Part of Chapter 8, pages 183-228, deals with coding and creating your own theme, and this may be both too technical and unnecessary for non-programmers/non-hackers who, as with plugins, may opt to use either a free or for-fee premium theme. But even if you are not going to create your own theme but are going to use a prepackaged theme, or you are a non-programming Web Designer or general user, the information covered in this chapter may be useful if you decide to make modifications to an existing theme. Many users invariably end up making tweaks and adjustments to an existing theme that they downloaded and installed. So this Chapter 8 would be also useful to non-programmers since it includes much information that would be useful even if you are just going to download and install an existing theme instead of creating your own.
Chapter 9, "Content Aggregation", pages 229-248, covers integrating your WordPress content with social networking sites, other external sites, and setting up advertising on your site. This chapter is useful for both programmers and non-programmers.
Chapter 10, "Crafting A User Experience", pages 249-272, covers user experience and usability, and search engines and searching your own site. While Web Designers usually think about these concepts on a Web design, many programmers who are more focused on functional coding may not think about usability as much, and I personally have seen too many WordPress blogs that are ugly and non-intuitive to use. So this chapter is both useful and understandable to everyone.
Chapter 11, "Statistics, Scalability, Security, and Spam", pages 273-298, covers various administrative aspects of maintaining your WordPress site. This information might seem mundane if you are just wanting to use WordPress for a personal blog site, but the seven pages on "Securing Your WordPress Site" should be read by all users of WordPress. As with any kind of Internet software, especially once you start including third-party plugins into your WordPress installation, there is a risk of having your site hacked. This chapter only covers a subset of useful security tips, although they include some of the common and most useful tips. To find more great security tips, do an Internet search on "WordPress security" since there are other additional methods and tips for keeping your WordPress site safe from malicious hackers that are not mentioned in this chapter.
Chapter 12, "WordPress As A Content Management System", pages 299-316, discusses various factors to consider in using your WordPress installation for a multi-user multi-author setup, and even though WordPress started as a blogging engine, it has reached far into the world of e-commerce, shopping carts, online catalogs, corporate Web sites, and multi-media uses.
Chapter 13, "WordPress In The Enterprise", pages 317-328, deals with scalability and integration issues to consider if you are using WordPress for a corporate Web site. Chapter 14, "Migrating To WordPress", pages 329-350, is useful if you are moving content from an existing blog or content management system into WordPress. And, finally, Chapter 15, "WordPress Developer Community", pages 351-364, talks about how you can interact and work with the ever-expanding WordPress open source community.
If you are not the least bit able to tinker with PHP coding, the 118 pages that encompass Chapters 4 through 7 would not be useful to you, but the remaining 246 pages would still be highly useful. But if you are not averse to hacking your way through PHP code, perhaps accompanied by a good book on PHP next to your keyboard, even these four chapters on programming may prove useful as you decide to make customized enhancements to your WordPress installation. I have been working with customized WordPress installations for many years now, and from what I have seen of most people who install WordPress onto their own Web site, most people eventually want to make adjustments to a theme that they downloaded and installed onto their site. They may not like the spacing and alignment of some of the layout that is used by the theme and want to adjust it, they want to add extra styling or change fonts or colors on some pages, etc, etc. So if you are not familiar with PHP scripting and do not know how to modify the ".css" CSS files, in addition to this useful book, you should also get a good PHP primer and CSS guide. And do not be intimidated if you have never worked with computer "code" before. Helped along with guides and primers on PHP and CSS (either in book or online form), it is a lot easier to tweak an existing layout of code than to write everything from scratch. So if you want to change the font size/style/color that a theme came with or move an image display higher up on a page, since you will be mainly modifying ".css" and ".php" files, you can be guided along using three reference books: this book on WordPress, a PHP book, and a CSS book. Along with this book's recommendation to not hack on the WordPress Core code, another always-useful rule to code hacking is to always save a pristine copy of the original file before you start to hack on it. Copy and rename an original version of the file, and as you make further edits to a file over time, I would also retain renamed versions of previously edited files that you have used on your live site.
Overall, this book is very well-balanced in having its level of detail be useful for everyone from experienced PHP programmers to Web Designers to Web hackers to newbie bloggers. If you hope to avoid tinkering with WordPress setup and configurations as much as possible, and if you also are not familiar with HTML and CSS, the large repository of information on the wordpress.org site may be all that you need to set up a basic WordPress site and add a theme and some plugins. But most WordPress users, over time, end up adding on extra plugins and themes, and wanting to make a variety of tweaks and adjustments to their site's functionality and layout. And as your WordPress site grows, it may require maintenance and enhancements. This book combines lots of great information in a sequence of chapters that is useful for anyone setting up a WordPress site.