I recently came across a WordPress book that I just had to buy. It is written by Thord Daniel Hedengren, or TDH as he is called in the blogosphere, which might be Sweden’s biggest profile in the WordPress community.
Smashing WordPress is published in February 2010 with Wilys and is a full colored book with about 300 pages. As you probably figured out by the title, this book is a part of the Smashing Magazine series of books.
Although the book was written before the release of WordPress 3.0, which was a major upgrade to WordPress, the book is still worth buying because it gives the reader a great overview of what you can do with WordPress and all examples in the book should still be valid.
Smashing WordPress is divided in five parts which together covers the basics when it comes to developing sites on WordPress CMS.
The books table of content
PART I: THE WORDPRESS ESSENTIALS
Chapter 1: Anatomy of a WordPress Install
Chapter 2: The WordPress Syntax
Chapter 3: The Loop
PART II: DESIGNING AND DEVELOPING WORDPRESS THEMES
Chapter 4: The WordPress Theme Essentials
Chapter 5: The Child Theme Concept
Chapter 6: Advanced Theme Usage
PART III: DEVELOPING WORDPRESS PLUGINS
Chapter 7: Anatomy of a WordPress Plugin
Chapter 8: Plugins and functions.php
PART IV: BEYOND THE BLOG
Chapter 9: WordPress as a CMS
Chapter 10: Uncommon WordPress Usage
Chapter 11: Essential WordPress Plugins
PART V: WORDPRESS TOOLBOX
Chapter 12: Design Trickery
Chapter 13: Extra Functionality
Chapter 14: Fun with Images
Chapter 15: Integrating the Social Web
Part 1 of the book starts with explaining the basic installation and what to think about when it comes to security. Moving on, we get to learn about the WordPress syntax which is basically PHP functions that you can use in your themes to make WordPress do the things you want. This first part ends up with a walkthrough of The Loop which is a PHP query that tells WordPress what content we want to display.
Part 2 takes us into the world of WordPress themes. A theme in WordPress is the PHP files that actually control what content goes where and how it should be presented. One very important aspect of theme development is the concept of Child Themes. This is particularly interesting if you want to base you theme on another theme as a foundation. If so, you should really look into this concept. Part 2 ends up with some advanced theme usage like individual styling techniques, mastering action hooks and other cool stuff that will help you with creating that wonderful WordPress site.
Part 3 walks us through how to develop WordPress plugins. First we get to learn all the important basics that build up a WordPress plugin then this part of the book finish off with a short explanation on when to use the theme file functions.php and when to use a plugin.
Part 4 takes you beyond the blog and proves that WordPress can be used in many other types of site. We will also get introduced to some plugins divided in several categories that can help us do things without writing any code ourselves.
Part 5 is the last part of this book and it will show off some great tricks on what you can do, like placing ads in the loop and how to work with images. Finally, the whole book ends up with how to integrate our site or blog to the social web.
To sum up this short review of Smashing WordPress: Beyond the blog, I would say that it is a great and well written book which is easy to follow. In my opinion it is a book for people with a low to intermediate level of experience with WordPress. The book covers all main aspects of WordPress and will work as a great foundation for you to get started to make great blogs as well as sites.