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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing manual... Crystal clear and comprehensive!
This is a really comprehensive resource for all aspects of Wordpress customisation, with extensive information on advanced template development, and LOTS of explanation on how the various page elements work. There are countless PHP examples given which you can use straight away in your site, although if you're not au fait with PHP, the author provides plenty of...
Published on 2 April 2010 by R. WEST-SOLEY

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls between two stools
I found myself frustrated and disappointed by this book. However, I've rated it 'OK' with 3 stars because it has enough information for me to know how to do basics, what is possible and where to look next, so it has been useful.

However, it suffers from a number of problems, I think because the author isn't focussed on the target readership.

1) On...
Published on 15 Dec. 2010 by Andy


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing manual... Crystal clear and comprehensive!, 2 April 2010
By 
R. WEST-SOLEY "Rich West-Soley" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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This is a really comprehensive resource for all aspects of Wordpress customisation, with extensive information on advanced template development, and LOTS of explanation on how the various page elements work. There are countless PHP examples given which you can use straight away in your site, although if you're not au fait with PHP, the author provides plenty of explanatory notes to go along with them. The sections on producing widgets and plugins is particularly clear and thorough.

You can really go into this completely 'cold' in terms of Wordpress development - there are some fantastic chapters on the basic under-the-hood workings of Wordpress, particularly 'The Loop'. It's definitely the most accessible introduction / explanation of this that I've come across, and it's really helped me to 'get' Wordpress.

What's nice is that it's not written with a purely technical focus, but there are also some nice chapters on real world uses of Wordpress - pushing it beyond the blog, and using it, amongst other things, as a fully-fledged Content Management System. The book is chock-full of ideas for squeezing the most out of your installation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls between two stools, 15 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I found myself frustrated and disappointed by this book. However, I've rated it 'OK' with 3 stars because it has enough information for me to know how to do basics, what is possible and where to look next, so it has been useful.

However, it suffers from a number of problems, I think because the author isn't focussed on the target readership.

1) On the one hand it is technical and only for web developers, yet it is not technical enough if you are a web developer (which I am).

2) The author has a frustrating tendency to hint that something could be done and then fail to say how. Examples are incomplete - for example in one section he says that you can pull in a welcome message entered in the admin page, but then doesn't say how to create the text field to type this into.

3) Far too much American false exuberance (yes, OK the author is American). Apparantly I'm going to use this book to make fantastic websites! How does he know? I might pulp it and make second-rate blotting paper.

4) It doesn't really work as a developer's guide. It seems more aimed at theme designers (which is what he is) who then want to sell their themes to other web developers, thus one stage removed from what I'm interested in, so the end user almost disappears. I suspect the author is too close to the material to see it from a newcomers perspective.

5) It is no good as a reference text. I can't find things very easily. So far I haven't found the majority of things I wanted to know to solve problems with a design I'm working on.

As I say, despite this criticism, it has got me started and I appreciate that.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really useful and well written, 25 Mar. 2010
By 
E. Chittenden "emchi" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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This book is helping me craft a website for someone, it's been a really valuable resource. Clearly written and not patronising. It's packed full of features that make it very easy to create the site you want from Word Press.

Given that a lot of hosting companies will install WP for you for free, saving you the hassle, or the knowledge if you don't have it, being able to customise your install is the next step on the ladder. With so many impressive templates out there, it's always nice to be able to create something yourself, without the reliance on other people. This book gives you the toolbox to be able to make a start on that.

As the author points out, it's useful to have some knowledge of CSS, HTML and PHP before you start. I wouldn't say this book is for the absolute beginner, but it's very helpful if you know a bit of code, but don't know how to turn it into the skills you really need to build a WP site. Well done. Miles better than the SAMS teach yourself in 24 hours books.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's be clear, this is an Advanced Level book, 13 April 2010
By 
Z. Herbert "solaan" (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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Aimed at the experienced user wanting more from their self-hosted WordPress site, this book is for someone who is at easy with reading snippets of PHP, CSS and HTML code. Someone who has no problem listening to an expert talk freely about their specialist subject and someone who is familiar with the concepts about which the expert speaks. Unfortunately, that someone is not me.

I wasn't expecting such a high level book; my heart sank when I realised. If you are a developer or a hacker then I am sure you will love this book.

I was hoping for some simple techniques or step-by-step techniques to go `beyond the blog'. As it is, this book is beyond my understanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its a pure programming book, 31 Mar. 2010
By 
Stephen Luff "Stephen L" (Worthing, Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I bought this book to learn about how to use wordpress and get the most out of it. | This is a programmers book |. Its all about manipulating wordpress using databases and php scripting language.

I was kind of hoping there would be a little on how to use wordpress as it is right now, perhaps add some widgets to it that already exist, stuff like that.

I can't mark the book down because its not got what I expected in it. If you are a programmer(which I am) and you want to get into the heart of wordpress(which I don't) then this will be a really good book on the subject. PHP scripting language is not much different to other scripting languages so it will be fairly straight forward to pick it up. What's put me off a bit is that I just don't have the time I will need to really study this book in a detailed way. I've learnt in life you need to be focused on where your time goes to get the most out of it. Pick your battles to learn and study something and have really good reasons for doing so.

Buy this book if you want to learn a bit about php, mysql and how to manipulate wordpress. But expect to be spending days and days studying it. If you are a casual user of blogs then perhaps its not worth putting in that time.

I might pick the book up again in the future to have some fun.

You can make a website with interactive forms with the information from this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First impressions count, 9 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
Just got this book (at long last it has been released!) and on first impressions it looks the boy. The book covers all the aspects I hoped it would and more, I am just trying to use wordpress and make it look like a bespoke site rather than an of the shelf template, and with this book I think I can get into the back end and be talked through it by a pro. The BIG drawback is the code. No CD attached or website to rip the code examples from that I am aware of. Nightmare for anyone who is not used to PHP, but all looks good.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book to use again and again, 15 Aug. 2010
By 
J. Lucchesi "The Simple Ape" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I bought this book to learn more about how to work WordPress having only a little experience of CMS (content management system). My background knowledge is with HTML, CSS and have just started PHP. No prior knowledge is needed for this book although I would recommend having a foundation level of knowledge of HTML and CSS you use the majority of the book.

There are a lot of free web tutorials that go over the same topics but the level of depth seems to be greater in the book. Smashing magazine is also a website for web designers and developers and the same level of detail displayed on there website is featured in the book.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has not been able to fully understand online tutorials, the wordpress codex and those who want a good desk reference guide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg of a book, 11 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
This is a book of wonderful content very badly presented - making it a classic 'curate's egg' of a book - good in parts!

The author clearly does not have English as a first language and the style is far too chatty. This is supposed to be a text book of programming instruction - not a social 'blog' of a book. Those having difficulty and indicating low(er) ratings here all have similar issues with the book - comprehension. The text waffles and sentence construction is often ungrammatical and shoddy. Grammar exists for a purpose - it aids comprehension, hence the prime fault of the book. The technical data and expertise is top-notch, the penmanship is not.

Far better alternatives are:
1) For the keen user looking to understand more - Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes by SitePoint
2) For the would-be developer needing a first class reference and text book - Professional WordPress: Design and Development (Wrox Programmer to Programmer) - do not be put off by the 'Professional' in the title or the tagline 'Programmer to Programmer' This book is from very basic principles through to fairly advanced stuff laid out in a crystal clear and logical fashion. If you buy just one book on Wordpress, be brave, buy this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction but leaves you wanting more, 30 Mar. 2010
By 
Mr. T. Anderson "onlyconnect" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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One thing to get clear from the start: WordPress exists in two guises. You can use the well-known blogging engine on wordpress.com, where everything is managed for you, but this also limits your layout options. The alternative is to do your own custom install, using the open source software at wordpress.org, and it is this hands-on approach that forms the subject of this book. The author is a web designer and developer who has created his own themes - the primary way to customise WordPress - and this practical knowledge is put to good use here, with lots of tips and comments interspersed with the text.

To say Wordpress is a blogging engine does not do it justice. It is a multi-faceted tool capable of powering an entire web site, with great flexibility over the design and content. If you are wondering just how far WordPress can be stretched, this is a great book to get you started. It does assume knowledge of PHP, the server-side scripting language that powers WordPress; and you will not get far on the design side without knowing a bit about HTML and CSS. If these are areas of mystery to you, I would suggest learning a bit about them first, then come back to this book later.
Smashing WordPress starts at the beginning, with a chapter on installation. It is OK, though I would like to have seen more on permissions and security at this point, because you need to get this right from the start. Next, there are chapters on WordPress syntax and the Loop, the heart of the blog engine. This is excellent for getting started.

Next come three chapters on themes, telling you pretty much all you need to know to design your own theme. These are really useful, showing the author's experience. They are followed by a couple of too-brief chapter on plugins, a means of extending WordPress.

The next section of the book is more wide-ranging, discussing different ways of using WordPress and then listing common plugins. I loved the term "unblogify" - making WordPress less like blog engine and more like a web site or web application, such as the job board example which lists job vacancies.

Finally, there is a section called WordPress Toolbox, essentially tips and tricks for making your site special. One of the examples shows how to integrate with Twitter.
Overall I like the book; even hardcore WordPress hackers will likely learn something new, while those who previously found the idea of theme creation or modification too daunting will find this ideal for picking up the key skills and seeing how it all fits together.

That said, the book is not perfect. I would have liked more on performance and caching (hardly mentioned); more on spam management; more on permissions as noted above; and more detail on writing plugins. I am a big fan of widgets, which let you assemble a WordPress page through drag and drop, and would have liked more than the brief introduction found here. Quite often I found myself wishing the author had found space for more detail and code examples. I'd also note that this is more a developer book than a design book. That's fine, provided you know what you are getting.

I still recommend it for web developers who want to understand WordPress and what it can do - which is hugely impressive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to stretch WordPress, 20 April 2010
By 
Ross Boardman "Ross B" (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First point, this is not a book on how to write blogs. The volume is very much on how to technically extend WordPress from installation through to customizing and creating new components. I am not that familiar with PHP so found that the explanations and diagrams were very useful. There are plenty of hints, but more essentially, this tells you were to find the tweaks and how to configure WordPress. In the same way that a book on search engine optimisation has to delve under the bonnet of the system, so does this. It not only explains how WordPress works but provides some good resources and links for extending your implementation. At present, I run three seperate instances of WordPress (two blogs and one content managed site) and I can see this book playing a big part in developing these.
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Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) by Thord Daniel Hedengren (Paperback - 5 Feb. 2010)
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