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The book for somewhat advanced WordPress information
on March 9, 2010
If you are just starting out with WordPress, then the best book I've found for that is Lisa Sabin Wilson's "WordPress For Dummies" (WPD). WPD will carry you surprisingly far into the installation, use, maintenance and extension of WordPress. It is now in its second edition with a third expected soon.
For most people, WPD will suffice.
But If your needs are more demanding, then Aaron Brazell's "WordPress Bible" is a good place to go.
Brazell gets much deeper under the WordPress hood than Sabin-Wilson. - and this content is not for the neophyte.
The content is eclectic, with a lot of emphasis on building plugins. Installing WordPress is covered, but not in the same supportive way you'll find in WPD. Some chapters are head-scratchers: why are nine pages devoted to the WordPress help system ("Codex") and other support groups? Chapters like "Extending WordPress with Plugins", "Widgetizing WordPress", "Understanding the WordPress Database Class" and the doozy "Dissecting the Loop and WP_Query" give you what you need to know to write and manage plugns. Another chapter talks about using WordPress as a Content Management System, which I found helpful, and wish was three times longer.
Overall, "WordPress Bible" is a valuable addition to any serious WordPress library. My one criticism of the book is about Wiley, the publisher: they have a adopted a design that makes it look as if the type is printed in gray, which I find very difficult to read for more than a few minutes at a time. Wiley does not respond to customer comments. Because of this flaw, I will buy Wiley books only when they appear to be best in class.