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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my view the best mid/advanced level WP book written to date
Let me preface this review by saying this is NOT a beginner Wordpress book. That said, the folks who leave a mediocre review for this book due to this being over their head are ridiculous. If your looking for a book that teaches you "how to get started" with wordpress this is not your book. You will NOT find sections on how to create a post, add tags, install plugins,...
Published on February 27, 2010 by D. Day

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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A spectacularly bad book
OK. I'm not a wordpress beginner; I'm not a computer newbie. I have installed, configured and developed with wordpress as a CMS professionally and installed it to run blogs. I have a higher degree in computer science. I say this because I want to be absolutely clear that this book is bad for anyone at any level.

The book is badly written. It makes no...
Published on May 10, 2011 by J. R. Tyson


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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my view the best mid/advanced level WP book written to date, February 27, 2010
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This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
Let me preface this review by saying this is NOT a beginner Wordpress book. That said, the folks who leave a mediocre review for this book due to this being over their head are ridiculous. If your looking for a book that teaches you "how to get started" with wordpress this is not your book. You will NOT find sections on how to create a post, add tags, install plugins, etcetera. This book is to teach you how to do advanced secure installs, understand the wordpress framework, template tags (the code snippets that make things work), how to create themes and plugins, and start working with some examples.

This book was an amazing for me because of where I am at in my wordpress development. Before reading this book I knew how to install wordpress, set up permalinks, work with .htaccess files, create posts, add plugins, and even do some minor tweaking. I did not however understand the core code concepts of wordpress that make it work, thus I could not advance beyond an "advanced beginner." When I would go to read advanced wordpress books they were all written in techie speak and I always ended up feeling lost.

Enter Smashing Wordpress:

From the moment I started reading this book it was right at the level I needed. I had finished my knowledge of the beginner to mid level stages of wordpress and Smashing Wordpress took me to a solid level of advanced wordpress techniques and theme/plugin building. It is written in PLAIN ENGLISH and not techie speak like most advanced technology books (please remember you must have a solid beginner level understanding or this book will seem complicated).

If your looking to start understanding all that code that makes themes and plugins work and you have a solid understanding of the basics of wordpress this book is for you.

From the very first chapter this book I stated to absorb the wordpress code concepts and advanced techniques I was craving to learn. I am half way through this book and I am quickly becoming the advanced wordpress theme creator that I have been wanting to be. (This book will also give you a solid ability to modify even the most advanced themes)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO WORDPRESS USERS READY TO UNDERSTAND AND BUILD OR MODIFY WORDPRESS THEME AND PLUGINS.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Content/Poor Book Design, February 13, 2010
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This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I am fairly new to web design and wordpress theme development and have been searching for ways to go beyond the typical wordpress theme. This book gives you exactly what it says it will. It really does go beyond the blog. This is by far the most thorough wordpress themeing book I have found. The content within this book is dense and every bit of it is useful.

I would not recommend this book to the absolute beginner unless you really like jumping headfirst into the very deep end. You really need to have at least a moderate understanding of html css and php to get through this book. The author is able able to cover as much as he does in large part by assuming you can keep up.

The biggest problem with this book and the only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is the layout. I have heard this complaint regarding other books from smashing magazine and unfortunately it is very true. The guys at smashing mag are brilliant web designers but would do well to hire some equally brilliant print designers to layout their books. The biggest problem is the inner margins of the book. They have been designed as though this book were to be read on a vertical blog with identical margins on both pages instead of reflected margins resulting in having to force the book open to read the left page. Sorry to go on about this but it really is a big problem and I hope they will fix this in future versions (or at least in future publications).

Pros:
1. Spectacular content not found in any other single book
2. Covers up and coming wordpress features such as child themes
3. Tutorials for designing functioning job boards, faq knowledge bases, e-commerce sites, portfolio sites and more
4. 2 chapters on functions.php and plugin development
5. Too many great things content wise to list!

Cons:
1. Not recommended for the beginner
2. Layout of the book is quite poor and makes reading difficult

Overall:
If you are serious about creating your own wordpress themes and have experience with css html and php then this is absolutely the book you want.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A spectacularly bad book, May 10, 2011
This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
OK. I'm not a wordpress beginner; I'm not a computer newbie. I have installed, configured and developed with wordpress as a CMS professionally and installed it to run blogs. I have a higher degree in computer science. I say this because I want to be absolutely clear that this book is bad for anyone at any level.

The book is badly written. It makes no attempt at all to introduce things in an orderly way. I had a more confident grasp of themes *before* I read the chapters on themes than after! Terminology is not regularly explained and where it is the explanations are sometimes of a vague, kind of, sort of like this variety and then the author moves swiftly on.

Instructions are often incomplete. This is a problem because the *context* is not made clear. You can tell me to finish off some settings without being very explicit *if* you've made it clear *where* those are to be found. If you don't then it's just frustrating.

There is no progressive nature either overall or in individual topics. You jump in and jump around and if you persevere you may just make it back to sure.

This book has no use to a beginner and no use to anyone more advanced. This isn't because it tackles intermediate or advanced topics but because it's written by someone who has little idea of instructional writing and no talent for clarity of exposition. If you are a beginner I'd go with Wordpress Complete or Headfirst Wordpress and if you're after something more advanced then the Wrox design and develop book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for mid - senior level WP user., March 27, 2010
By 
Alexander Hinojosa (San Diego / Chicago) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I have to agree with everyone that this isn't a beginner Wordpress book. For you to utilize this book you have to be past the beginner stages. If you don't know how to post, install plugins, add tags and understand categories walk away from this book.
For me this book is great; I have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS, this book has taken me to another level of understanding Wordpress.

There is an excellent section on the Gallery and has given me some great ideas
As many others have said; if you're a mid - senior level user this book will be great for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By a Wordpress developer for Wordpress developers, July 4, 2010
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This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
It always helps when evaluating a book to understand who it was written for. This book is written for reasonably experienced web designers, those who actually understand the what web code does and how it works, not just someone who can run Dreamweaver.

Much of the custom functionality available in Wordpress is accessed by coding theme pages. This is a coder's book. It won't hand-hold a new blogger through learning to blog. It won't glow on and on about adding special plugins. It won't try to impress you with some shiny Wordpress themes and one click installation. It will show you how to tweak Wordpress theme pages in ways that greatly expand on the default installation. To do so you need to be reasonably comfortable reading html, php and css. A minimal knowledge of the Wordpress ways of doing things would also be helpful.

If you match those prerequisites, then I can absolutely recommend this book to you. I certainly consider it a worthwhile addition to my bookshelf. The author uses his own Wordpress theme as an example. It is a visually simple but functionally sophisticated theme. Function is what this book is about, how to add highly useful functionality to a Wordpress site. In that it succeeds well. Create your own customized blog display. Create your customized category page display. Tweak your Wordpress site to function like a magazine, want ads site or image gallery. Those are all covered, as is Wordpress' core display concept of the loop. And this is all done with good coding practices.

There's a short section on plugins. It's more of a general introduction than and in-depth chapter. That's fine. Plugin development requires a lot of work and should have a whole book dedicated to it (or more).

If you understand the basics of Wordpress themes but want to do the things you see some of the sophisticate Wordpress sites do. Get this. It will show you how. If you're new to Wordpress, I'd recommend something more basic first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the intermediate to advanced WordPress user., September 11, 2010
This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
This is not a beginner's book on WordPress. If you are a beginner or slightly experienced WordPress user, get "WordPress For Dummies", 3rd Edition, by Lisa Sabin-Wilson.

If you know you r WordPress basics and want to go further, you want and need this book. (It is, in my opinion, far superior to "WordPress Bible" by Aaron Brazell.)

It is clear that Hedengren knows the internals of WordPress. He is not the best writer on the planet and his editor is no prizewinner either, but if you want to know more about developing for WordPress and deploying WordPress more effectively, this is the book you want, even though it can be tough to follow at times. You'd best have a more than basic understanding of XHTML, CSS and PHP.

Hedengren covers in detail what he describes as the "WordPress essentials", those being the WordPress syntax and the WordPress loop. The chapter on the loop is easily worth the price of the book.

Next he moves on to designing and developing WordPress themes. While you may never design a theme, the information given about themes in this 85 page section will vastly increase your understanding of how themes work and what you can do with themes you are using.

Plug-ins are next. It took me a little bit to recognize the usefulness of plug-ins, which extend the functionality of WordPress without bloating the code of theme itself. But Hedengren does a good job of walking the user through plug-ins, their utility and how to create and implement them.

The chapter on using WordPress as a Content Management System is the most thorough treatment of this subject I have seen anywhere. It left me wanting still more information, which means just sitting down with WordPress and experimenting with it - a lot of experimenting. The value of this chapter is that Hedengren answers a lot of questions about WordPress as a CMS and provides the keys for moving forward.

The last section is bits and pieces covering "design trickery", adding extra functionality to stock and custom WordPress themes, having "fun with images" and "integrating the social web". Good tips overall.

Great book - except for its own design.

Poor graphic design always calls attention to itself, sometimes to the exclusion of content. Think Wired Magazine as an example of incredibly poor graphic design - and you also identified what appears to be the primary influence on the designer of this book. From page numbers incongruously located on the center outside edge of each page to the narrow margins, this book stands out as being designed by someone who doesn't read and certainly doesn't use books. Spot color is used throughout the book, except in the code examples where it could have been used to great effect.

Oh well, you can't have everything.

For the WordPress user who wants to really get into the nuts and bolts of WordPress, this is the book.

Jerry
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The author needs a good editor., September 25, 2011
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At first I was going to give this book a very good recommendation -- up until around chapter 6 where his code examples were either riff with mistakes or simply didn't work. (Page 136 "custom menus" as one example.) What I liked about the book up to then was that the author did a nice job of leading you through the fundamentals while using common references to HTML and CSS. He also would reiterate some of the more difficult concepts; that was helpful. But when you get to the chapters where you are to apply his codes to his very own theme, it falls apart. It's as if the author, after writing and having the book (poorly) translated and edited, failed to go back through the book with test subjects to see if his lesson plan actually works. I have a dozen years experience as a website designer, three of which is building with the Textpattern CMS. So, I do understand the basic building blocks of CMS and blogs. At the end, I had to put the book aside and rely on Wordpress online Codex and forums. Maybe after I'm proficient enough in WordPess I'll be able to go back and use his manual -- but that sort of defeats the point of having a "how to" book, isn't it?

There are just too many gaps in this book for me to recommend. Maybe in the 3rd edition the author will budget a good editor.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even good for beginners, April 9, 2010
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This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
After looking over other reviews, as a beginner, I was a bit skeptical about buying it. But once I started reading it, I think the book is excellent. It has really made me understand the wordpress anatomy and has given me confidence that it is something I can do. I am having fun with this book. It is my wordpress bible!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be better, July 24, 2011
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This book has a lot of great snippets for WordPress theme developers. I went in not knowing much and came away as an intermediate developer. I got confused in the sections discussing loop.php, and would have had an easier time if the authors were more explicit where certain code goes. That being said, I did like that there were a lot of code samples. The author takes you through a theme and leads you step by step through bits and pieces that you can change. Sections discussing post types and query_post were also extremely helpful. While you can find half of the information in the WordPress codex, this book is definitely worth the investment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Resource for Wordpress Theme Developers, May 2, 2010
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This review is from: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
This is not a beginners guide. For those with some experience with Wordpress already this book will take you to the next level (beyond the blog) as the title states. As a wordpress "theme" developer I found this book to be a valuable resource.

As other reviewers have already stated the layout could possibly use a little work.
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Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) by Thord Daniel Hedengren (Paperback - February 8, 2010)
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