Digging into WordPress by Chris Coyier and Jeff Star

Book cover Digging into WordPressDigging into WordPress by Chris Coyier and Jeff Star is my first “real” book on WordPress. Until now I’d learned what I needed with a mixture of the Codex, online how-to articles, critical thinking, and intuition. But after creating websites for five different clients this year, I figured it best to study up, dig in if you will.

So I researched and compiled a list of print books. (Because you know how I feel about eBooks.) And, to be honest, at $75 USD Digging into WordPress wasn’t my first choice. But then some unexpected money arrived, yay!

Anywho, the book’s format is near perfect: spiral-bound, color-coded, and listed in a logical “quick reference” style. I did notice, from about chapter seven on, there were typos and missing words (oopsy!) Nitpicking aside, I’m quite pleased and foresee using this as a reference book for a long time.

Its impressive 420 pages are crammed full of descriptions, explanations, tips, tricks, demos, and code snippets. And when I say crammed, I mean it; some pages were even a little difficult to read because there was SO much on one page. Not complaining though. I’d rather have too much info than not enough 🙂

What I’ll use immediately (well not RIGHT this minute but in the coming months):

1. Custom taxonomies. Wow! I was totally oblivious to the power these give WP-powered sites. My geeky self was almost as excited about taxonomies as when I first learned about post formats.

2. Better organization. I haven’t ever been satisfied with my categories and tags: they’ve always seemed too much or too little. But thanks to my new found knowledge (see #1), I think my the layout will be just what I intended to do from the get-go.

3. Stronger permalinks. I already use pretty permalinks but the way I have them set up is way too nested (aka long). So I’m gonna change these up once my child theme is finished and my sites re-designed.

4. Security optimization. There are definitely a few doors that need closed.

5. Site optimization. Okay, so I did already start on this one – I deleted all deactivated plugins that I’d kept “just in case” – and I plan to make a few other tweaks as well.

Biggest suggestion:

It would be fantabulous if the authors would create and include an index with future versions. A way to quickly find the page with something that was referenced only in the sidebars, for instance.

Note: Digging into WordPress is geared more towards the intermediate user / developer. Newbies’ heads might pop off once they’re past the beginner info in the first few chapters. And advanced developers would find the repetition (and the sections of duplicate content) useless. But for those who are familiar with the basics of HTML, PHP and CSS, you’ll see the big picture enough to know what you can do, what you might want to do, and then how to go about doing it.

WEB RESOURCES:

Digging into WordPress (companion site)
CSS Tricks
Perishable Press

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