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Head First WordPress: A Brain-Friendly Guide to Creating Your Own Custom WordPress Blog 1st Edition
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About the Author
Jeff Siarto is a user experience and web designer currently calling Chicago home. He has two degrees from Michigan State University and was a student of the standards-based web design movement--aspiring to the likes of Cederholm, Zeldman and Meyer. Jeff is a die-hard coworker and helps organize Jelly Chicago, a coworking group that meets twice a week in Chicago's Lincoln Parkneighborhood. When Jeff isn't pushing pixels, he enjoys cooking andeating (ok, mostly eating) and spending time with his wife onChicago's west side and in Michigan with friends and family.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's quite a few important errors and no errata online. The web links to get the work files (I miss CDs) are wrong and when you're redirected to the correct page the files may or may not be there. Example, page 71, "Download 'Acmestyle.css' from..." I downloaded the chapter two file, unZipped it and the two Zip files that were in the resulting folder. There is no "Acmestyle.css" or mention of it in the files nor on the book's web page. This book was published a few months ago, surely they've noticed the problems and fixed them. Nope.
Out of frustration, as I couldn't continue without the file, I did a web search for "Acmestyle.css" and that lead to a link to a O'Reilly forum message where others reported the problem almost two months ago(!) and one poster said that it appears to be the same as the "screen.css" file inside one of the folders downloaded. I looked and it is very close to what I saw on the screen, not exact but darn close and would get me unstuck. I looked at some other messages on this book and saw there's more unanswered problems with the book's contents I have to look forward to. Swell.
In places this book is pretty nice like some other Head First books (I have several) that I have learned from, but in others it's as clear as mud!
I don't mind some errors in books as they happen and that's what errata pages are for. Problem is that there aren't any. There's no help from the author or O'Reilly in the forum either. I saw that the author commented to a review here, I think he (and we, the buyers of the book) would be better served if he spent some time making an errata for the book and maybe helping out in the forum -- anonymously would be fine. Note: The version of the TwentyTen template this book is using in WP 3.0 is a little different from the current one in WP 3.0.1 so that can be a bit confusing (errata idea?) but not major.
I bought this book to learn from, not struggle with. Luckily, I have other options. It goes back!
Some instructions as are missing and others are wrong. Particularly irritating was the section on permalinks ... it basically says, if this explanation doesn't work, here's a forum link, go figure it out for yourself.
The more I study, the less tolerance I have for books that waste my time. I set this book aside before finishing chapter 2.
While most people will choose to install Wordpress using the "one click" installation service offered by their hosting provider, the Headfirst book starts with a detailed description of how to download and install it the old fashioned way...manually. Even if you were to choose not to use the "one click" method (which I would advise against), reviewing this section gives you a good idea of the nuts and bolts of your Wordpress installation.
Next they cover the basics of posting and using images in your posts, including basic problems, troubleshooting and even covering file permissions. When it comes to changing your blogs appearance they do a very good job of describing templates, including third party templates, and also provide a solid overviews of HTML, PHP and CSS and how you can use it to modify your sight. Widgets are covered in depth as well.
The aspect of Wordpress I was most interested in learning more about was how to use it as a Content Management System (CMS) and the book covers the subject well, including a very good discussion on how to structure your website, how to modify your permalinks, set up the navigation bar and to use the visual editor.
There is an entire chapter devoted to embedding and handling video on the site which I felt was very important. Again, they covered not just how to embed video, but how to keep the video on your site organized and well structured, as well as various plugins that can be used to add extra functionality to the site. One part I didn't expect was the information on how to podcast, which I thought was interesting. This was covered in conjunction with advice on setting up syndication and using Feedburner. I personally have never done any podcasting, but it's nice to know that the information is there if I need it. I did appreciate the discussion on syndication however and thought it made getting set up on Feedburner easier and less confusing I remember it being.
There is a chapter devoted to Wordpress security which, having suffered from malware and virus attacks on my Wordpress blogs in the past, I thought was a good idea. One can never be too secure when it comes to the Internet and the advice in this chapter is solid.
If your new to Wordpress this is a excellent book to get you started. I highly recommend it. I found this more user friendly and readable than any other Wordpress book I have read or reviewed. If you use Wordpress but want to understand it and get more out of it I highly recommend this book as well, especially if you want to learn how to go into the code to modify the appearance of your site. IF you want to use Wordpress to it's full functionality get this book.