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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on 15 December 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 25 March 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on 15 August 2010
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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on 9 March 2010
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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on 11 February 2011
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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on 23 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm an experienced web developer fully conversant with PHP, MySQL, and the like, and I thought this book was great. I don't normally use Wordpress, having developed my own framework which I am more than happy with. However, I had the need for a very rapid deployment of a new blog site, so gave Wordpress a go. The fact that this book popped up for review at the same time kind of swang it for me. Its timing could not have been better.

Wordpress is really really simple to install. If you have trouble installing it, or are new to Wordpress, don't get this book, as 95% of it will go over your head. And rightly so. You cannot call a book "Smashing Wordpress: Beyond the Blog" if you deal only in the basics. This doesn't, this is like a Haynes manual for Wordpress. It answered all the questions I had when I came to modifying styles to customise it to suite my requirements. It explained how the loop worked, how to manipulate it, and how to go beyond, even to the extent of using it as a general CMS as opposed to just a blog engine.

One of the big issues I had always had with Wordpress was with security. An open source solution with freely available and easy to follow sourcecode is also open to exploitation. It is easier to havk something if you know what is going on under the bonnet. This book also explains what you need to do to protect your work, so I appreciated that. Too many app-based books seem to neglect security these days, so it was nice to see it get attention.

I really cannot fault this book. Its definately not for beginners, but if you know PHP and want to get the most out of Wordpress, then you will LOVE this book.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2010
I'm a full-time software developer specialising in web apps, and am conversant with PHP, MySQL and a frequent user (but until now, not a developer), of WordPress.

The Smashing Magazine blog is a fabulous resource for many web professionals, and I had very high hopes for this book. I wasn't let down. I can imagine beginners wanting to go off and explore a few things elsewhere first perhaps a little in places, but this is a comprehensive guide to Wordpress and being able to customise and extend it.

I teach web development at an undergraduate level, and whilst this isn't quite right as a course text for my course, it will certainly be in the "also-rans" for the students who want to explore WordPress specifically and get to grips with the World's most popular open-source blogging platform.

Oh, and one reviewer below suggests a problem with WordPress is that it's open source and therefore less secure: this is nonsense. His "own framework" has not had thousands of security experts pour over it trying to find vulnerabilities the way WordPress has. Open source is de facto more secure than closed source. Install with confidence, and upgrade often!
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