“Digging Into WordPress” book review

Done with programming courses and decided to do some technical reading. Internet is nice, but sometimes it takes a solid book to really get the topic.

So I am introducing new books category which will cover those and also large enough tutorials. Please note that first review happens to be of paid book, but most covered will be of freely available – as most of stuff on this blog.

Digging Into WordPress started out as promotional blog for upcoming book of same name and quickly became one of the most authoritative WordPress blogs around. Naturally upon launch book became one of the most mentioned WordPress materials as well.

Samer of FreewareGenius bought me a copy as thank you gift for optimizing his blog’s performance and I found to read it time this week.

digging_into_wordpress

Topics covered

Book consists of over ten large chapters, which can be roughly split into:

  • introductory;
  • internals and mechanics;
  • maintenance and related tasks.

Technical level is getting deeper in the middle and overall it has nice curve for people who either just starting out with WP to those who are actively tinkering with it and need to make sense of more complex parts.

Readability

Text is very well formatted and uses wide page which is great for widescreen monitor. There are also plenty of illustrations to liven it up . As result pages are not very text-intensive and are easy to either read or skim.

The only thing it lacks is syntax highlighting for numerous code snippets.

Good parts

What I liked most is:

  • excellent and careful explanations of most obscure parts, such as Loop;
  • no pages spared to go over less hot topics such as comments and feeds.

Book clearly favors consistent coverage of features over rehashing top of iceberg (that a lot of WordPress blogs tend to do).

Book is also work in progress and is getting updates about features from WordPress releases. At the time of writing it has update on features from 2.9, but not yet 3.0 that was just released.

Downsides

It annoyed me that in some places book goes completely against WP best practices. It is common occurrence online (too complex of a topic and even top developers occasionally miss the mark) but solid book should be better than that.

Prime examples are:

  • repeated suggestion to code in script links over use of queuing API;
  • snippet for third party API that make no use or even mention of caching;
  • usage of CURL over WordPress HTTP API.

Not something newbie, picking up book to get acquainted with WP, will be able to distinguish as poor practices.

Bundled themes

There are several WordPress themes bundled with book. Honestly I don’t know what to make of them. They are barely mentioned in text to be supporting material. I don’t think anyone would buy book for themes or use themes just because they came with book. They are just there.

Overall

Book makes a solid overview of WordPress platform, covers multiple topics and provides a lot of code examples. On other hand it has little to none exclusive information and plenty of topics sum up with go-read-that-post or go-download-that-plugin.

It is best suited for people who are just getting acquainted with WordPress or just start tinkering with internals. Those who follow WordPress closely had probably seen most of what book tells anyway.

Home http://digwp.com/book/

Contents and demo chapter http://digwp.com/book-demo/Digging-Into-WP-DEMO.pdf

Bundled themes demo http://themeclubhouse.digwp.com/

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