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WordPress Theme Design: A Complete Guide to Creating Professional WordPress Themes Paperback – May 30, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tessa Blakeley Silver

Tessa Blakeley Silver's background is in print design and traditional illustration. She evolved over the years into web and multi-media development, where she focuses on usability and interface design. Prior to starting her consulting and development company hyper3media (pronounced hyper-cube media) hyper3media.com, Tessa was the VP of Interactive Technologies at eHigherEducation, an online learning and technology company developing compelling multimedia simulations, interactions, and games that met online educational requirements like 508, AICC, and SCORM. She has also worked as a consultant and freelancer for J. Walter Thompson and The Diamond Trading Company (formerly known as DeBeers) and was a Design Specialist and Senior Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers' East Region Marketing department. Tessa authors several design and web technology blogs. Joomla! Template Design is her first book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (May 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847193099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847193094
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very informative and easy to follow.
sustv
This book written by Tessa Blakeley Silver, is the first book to help web designers and developers understand how to create a WordPress theme from start to finish.
Frank Stepanski
I'm just very frustrated over the time and money spent on such a substandard, unpolished work.
Daniel Balfour

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
WordPress Theme Design is a short book, 204 pages and offers an experience very much like that given by the Peachpit Press' Visual QuickProject Series. This is not a definitive guide to WordPress theming. Tessa Silver walks us through the creation of a WordPress theme intended for a monthly magazine site. As much CMS/beyond-the-blog flexibility of WordPress needs to be implemented by creative theming, this project offers an insight into how to customize WordPress for sites other than plain vanilla blogs. WordPress core features like "the loop," are mentioned but we are referred to the WordPress Codex documentation for more information. That's pretty much the way the book works, features or concepts, such as the loop or drop down menus are discussed, but for expanded explanations we are pointed to external web documentation.

The writing is clear and conversational and is targeted towards someone with a reasonable grounding in HTML and CSS, I'd say advanced novice to early intermediate. Those without an understanding of HTML will find it over their heads. A very basic understand of PHP syntax is also helpful. Except for WordPress specific code, experienced, standards aware coders will find much of the material pretty basic. Ms. Silver does create her design with modern web standards best practices, which she describes in a standards based context. The theme we create by following the tutorial is functional and illustrates some of WordPress' advanced capabilities, which can be accessed only through clever theming. Basic SEO is mentioned, and some advanced WordPress plug-ins and capabilities are briefly covered.

Chapter 6 offers a short overview of WordPress functions and a nice template tag reference.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Tod McKenna on September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Well written. Good tips. Too short. Not a reference book. Hardly a "complete" guide.

I found most of the book to be fairly basic, but I am experienced in designing standards-compliant sites using the tools and technologies Tessa uses (PHP, CSS, XHTML, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, etc..). I suspect that others with similar backgrounds would find this book not so helpful. For those just starting with CSS and XHTML, this book would be a good starting point though. It is filled with good advice (the best advice is to use standards-based approaches and to separate content from design) and lots of tips ranging from SEO to Photoshop techniques.

With Tessa's conversational writing approach, you feel that she's your tutor who genuinely wants you to create great, standards-compliant WordPress themes. She talks with you and not at you making the book easy to read and understand. Some key highlights include:

1. Rapid Design Comping - which is a design process coined by Tessa that takes you through ten steps of the design process from sketching to production.

2. Great section on font choices and why you might use one font over another.

3. A good discussion on validating pages through the W3C's XHTML and CSS validation services.

4. A good introduction on WordPress' template hierarchy. This is very important to understand when developing WP themes. I would have liked an entire chapter on this, though.

One thing I found totally absent (aside from a quick mention in a sidebar note) is a discussion and walkthrough of WordPress' OOP design. Just as it is important as a WP theme developer to understand the template system, good CSS, and XHTML, it is equally important to understand WP's object oriented design.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Peck on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a rock solid book with great, practical advice on how to create a WordPress theme. The style is very relaxed and conversational yet to the point. I felt like the author just came by and hung out with me at my pc, teaching me how to create a WordPress theme. I've been using WordPress for years, but never had the time or discipline to track down all I would need to know to do this.

The pictures and examples are great, all the code can be downloaded from the book's web site. I learned a lot not just about designing a theme for WordPress, but also gained some great tips on working with XHTML, CSS and how to troubleshoot both as well as Java Script.

I'd say a reader wants to have some familiarity with editing text files, sending them to a server and html. I thought the book did a great job of explaining anything else that would be needed. And I mention sending files to a server - but instructions are given for installing a local setup for testing. One could learn what this book has to offer without actually sending files out to a remote host.

Just a great book that I found to be extremely helpful to someone with no web design background, but I want my blogs to be more unique.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason VINE VOICE on January 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Tessa has done us all a really great service by writing this book for us.

There seems to be some confusion about who the book is targeted to, and who would get the most out of this book. Let me describe a bit about what I got out of the book, my background, and why I think this is a wonderful book that you should pickup.

Some people have given this book low reviews because they think it's to complicated, others think it's too easy.

I've been designing websites since before I had a computer. I used to write code in my (paper) notebook using nothing more than an HTML reference guide (and a quick trip to the library to put in code). I started designing websites for small companies (still do), and eventually went to college to get a degree in web design.

What I love the most about this book is, Tessa doesn't waste my time explaining basic CSS, html layout, php, stuff I could care less about in a WordPress Theme Design book. Instead she jumps right in and starts teaching "the good stuff". Some people are complaining that they cant follow along, but really, if you're going to design a website, you need to sit down, learn some xhtml and css. Familiarity with php and mysql is not necessary thanks to using WordPress and this book (though a little can go a long way).

What this book does give you is a way to translate your previous webdesign skills into the "WordPress" world, as quickly, and painlessly as possible. I love it!

I really wish this resource had been available back when I started tinkering with WordPress themes a while back, and I think it can and will help anyone who wants to create a WordPress theme.
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