The book’s been in development for a while, and the finished 400 pages are very polished and generally well written. The book is available from the Digging into WordPress website, and the site features a PDF Sample and containing the contents and Chapter 3 – ‘Anatomy of a WordPress Theme’.
To reproduce here, the main chapters of the book are:
- Welcome to WordPress – an introduction to WordPress, this chapter is suitable for absolute beginners to WordPress, so if you’ve never used it before, this chapter will get you up and running.
- Setting up WordPress – installing, categories, tags, user administration, as well as an introduction to using themes and plugins.
- Anatomy of a WordPress theme – a more detailed examination of WordPress themes, covering theme files, the header, the WordPress loop, comments, theme functions and other theme fundamentals.
- Theme Design and Development – further examination of themes, including loop customisation, menus, styling and widgets.
- Extending Functionality – a detailed look at plugins, including custom functions and using WordPress as a CMS.
- Working with RSS Feeds – a comprehensive chapter featuring many facets of RSS, including using FeedBurner for feed devivery, and tracking and displaying of Feed Statistics.
- Working with Comments – great chapter that examines one of the most important areas of WordPress.
- Search Engine Optimisation – this is a great example of something that you wouldn’t normally find in a typical WordPress book, and features many items that are of great interest to many bloggers.
- Maintaining a Healthy Site – reminds the reader that there are a few things that they can and should do to protect their WordPress installation against hacking and comment spam.
The book’s absolutely jam-packed with useful information, and I learned a few things, despite having used WordPress for a while myself. That said, it starts off very gently, and is suitable to WordPress beginners, too. The written style is very easy to read, and the prose is complemented beautifully by helpful diagrams, screenshots and sidenotes.
Much of the content is standard stuff, taking the reader through core WordPress concepts, but that’s not a criticism, it’s a necessary requirement for this type of book. It’s the additions to this that really make the difference; things like integrating your site with Twitter, FeedBurner and Delicious. It has a real-world feel about it, owing to Chris and Jeff’s experience and usage of WordPress. In fact, it’s a great advertisement for WordPress itself, since it gives a holistic view of using WordPress for real-world sites.
Initially the book was only available as a PDF download, but has recently been made available as a printed book. It looks fantastic, and its spiral-bounding means you can lay it flat on a desk. The only downside is that it is a little pricey, but might be worth considering if you crave a printed page version.
Overall, this is the best WordPress book that I’ve read, and will help you get more out of it, whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned user. Go get it!