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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Publisher pedigree promised much, but this book delivers little., May 12, 2012
This review is from: WordPress: Visual QuickStart Guide (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
I wanted to really like this book. I grabbed this book on impulse from the library, as I've had a great experience with Visual Quickstart books in the past. I dove into this book, wanting to learn a lot from it and give it a glowing review. However, I came out pretty disappointed. As I was reading through the book, I was basically finding one issue after another. I tried to read through the entire book to give it a chance, but I couldn't care enough to reach the final chapters.

First issue: The chapters don't offer more information than what Wordpress itself gives. As I'm reading the chapters, I'm following along in my Wordpress site. Wordpress itself does a decent job describing what each section, option, and feature does; the book just echoes this information, and no more. In fact, several sections of the book seem to just paraphrase what Wordpress had to say. I could, instead of reading first ten chapters of the book, just browsed through each page of the Wordpress backend, and learned just as much of what the book tried to teach. There were many topics where I wished the book could have explained a feature with more depth than it or Wordpress did.

Second issue: There are a few redundant sections and style inconsistencies throughout the book, that made it seem there were little communication between the two authors about who would write about what topic. One example of this was discussing the Discussion Settings page - that was gone over twice in two separate chapters. The general style inconsistency was in how the images and visuals were arranged around the two-column text: some chapters, the images were many and took up the second column on the page, in other chapters, the images were few and took the bottom spread of the page, or on it's own page separate from the text that would reference it (which made the book seem odd to be called a "Visual Quickstart Guide").

Third issue: The casual tossing-around of PHP code. The authors seem to assume the reader is already familiar with how to read and understand PHP code, or assume their PHP examples would be easy enough that readers don't have to know anything about PHP beforehand. Well, I've had no serious exposure to PHP code before picking up this book, and many of the given examples were easy enough to work with. But for the more complicated examples, where the authors just dump 10-15 long lines of code, the tight two-column book layout made the PHP snippets hard for my newbie brain to digest.

Fourth issue: conflicting instructions with using the PHP code examples. In the PHP customization chapters, the authors tell you to insert certain snippets into certain files of the Wordpress site, to get certain results. The first problem with this, is that it's only in the SECOND CHAPTER of the PHP customization chapters, do the authors mention what Wordpress theme these chapters are meant to work with. The second problem is in that even using the right Wordpress theme to be following the book's instructions, some of the PHP snippets the book said to add to the theme files, are actually already in the files. I don't know what the damage would be for adding in repeat sections of PHP code in the Wordpress theme files, but the authors don't address the possibility.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 17, 2012 4:01:54 PM PDT
Jessica says:
You bring up an excellent point - the example theme should be basic, instead of pre-populated with the code in the tutorials. I've stripped down our example theme to make it easier to follow along.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Location: Indiana, USA

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