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I seem to be reading quite a few WordPress books of late, and there are certainly a few to choose from. Packt Publishing's WordPress 2.8 Theme Design's tagline is 'Create flexible, powerful, and professional themes for your WordPress blogs and websites'.
WordPress themes are of interest to me since they fuse a visual aspect with PHP code, and there's no doubt that they appeal to many other people too.
1. Getting Started as a WordPress Theme Designer 2. Theme Design and Approach 3. Coding it Up 4. Debugging and Validation 5. Putting Your Theme into Action 6. WordPress Template Tag, Function, and CSS Reference 7. AJAX/Dynamic Content and Interactive Forms 8. Dynamic Menus and Interactive Elements 9. Design Tips for Working with WordPress
The book's author Tessa Blakely Silver starts very gently with an introduction to WordPress themes and why downloading a theme that's already been coded and designed may not always be the best solution. Subsequently, the book develops a theme from scratch and examines core technologies such as WordPress, CSS, XHTML and PHP.
The second chapter starts with a discussion of theme design in general, followed by the beginnings of the theme that's developed throughout the book. There are further discussions on semantic markup, typography, fonts and layout.
The following chapter focuses on the code aspect of theme design, and suggests a workflow strategy as well as template tags, hooks, and the WordPress loop. Comments are then discussed in some detail, the topic including pagination and threaded comments.
Chapter four examines the process of debugging and validating.Read more ›
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WordPress 2.8 Theme Design is the right book for those who currently understand the basics of Wordpress setup and theme modifications. Many books on Wordpress explain how to set up a self-hosted Wordpress blog, customize a header graphic and basic Wordpress blog management tasks and procedures. Wordpress 2.8 Theme Design takes you beyond the setup and management basics and into the creation of your own unique Wordpress theme from start to finish and is best for those who are comfortable with XHTML, CSS and Photoshop or GIMP. Silver begins with pros and cons of creating your own theme including Wordpress design best practices.
Silver has what some would consider a unique way of creating rapid prototype composites. Rather than sketching and designing first is a design program (e.g. Photoshop), she starts out with a rough sketch then moves directly into developing the layout in HTML and CSS. Her reasoning for this is twofold: First, she knows that by creating and laying everything out in XHTML and CSS that the site actually works for the real environment it will be used on. Second, many changes from clients come in the form of text tweaks. Working this way is easier in her view then wading through many Photoshop layers. From there, she takes a screen-capture of the layout and finesses it in Photoshop to create a comp that is easy to update and has the benefit of being partly coded. From there she takes the reader through the steps to convert the HTML to XHTML & PHP for Wordpress, widgetizing, testing your code and more.
OK, I know authors and publishers are under the gun to get stuff out the door with limited budgets, but the copy in this book is downright appalling. Obviously nobody bothered to edit it. The organization is terrible and every page has really bonehead grammatical and punctuation errors, which makes me reluctant to trust the code samples (they also contain typos). This is a real shame because there's a lot of good info here -- especially for front-end developers like myself. I probably wouldn't buy another book from this publisher or author. Compared to the WordPress Bible (which I'm also reading), it's the difference between night and day. A big disappointment.
I'm writing this review in part as an open letter to Tessa, the book's author, as well as to provide some insight into making your purchase ("you" being the shopper). I had originally reviewed (okay, "ranted about") Tessa's previous writing, "WordPress Theme Design". I found it lacking in many ways and went into an in-depth analysis of what I felt the book was missing.
WordPress 2.8 Theme Design is a soup-to-nuts improvement on the previous book. THIS book actually introduces topics that pertain to actual theming of WordPress blogs, with only casual discussion of related (albeit off topic) subjects. Tessa has really outdone herself here, and just as I bitterly criticized the previous writing, I feel this current edition is praise worthy. The book is well organized, concise, topics are developed ADEQUATELY, and in logical order, and references are made to where additional resources can be found.
Reading this book will guide the novice through some of the main factors of WordPress theme design. It explains, though briefly, pretty much all you need to understand to create your own WordPress theme, and from scratch. Topics are very well developed and though it may not say as much as I'd like, this book is by far the best (hard copy) resource I've yet to see on the subject. The reader will NOT be disappointed.
Good job Tessa!
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