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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
This is a great tutorial book for all those who’d like to develop their own WordPress blog templates from existing “framework templates” like the “Thematic”.
Written by Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R. Jones, and Jeffrey Way, the work seems to be targeting the 16-24 age group. Evidence? The cover art is a dead giveaway: a skateboard, a helmet, and a pair of sneakers! Why did the authors assume that older communicators would not be interested in this wonderful work, I have no idea…
This well-illustrated and tastefully designed 200-page book starts off the gate slowly, in a comfortable gait. The perfunctory first chapters explain what WP is (like there’s hardly a soul left on the planet who hasn’t heard of WP), and the basic logic and components of a WP blog.
The rubber meets the pavement in Chapter 4: “Theme Frameworks.” In this chapter we learn how parent and child themes are put together and we are led through an exercise in which we construct our first child theme by using an existing “framework”.
Chapter 5, “Advanced Theme Construction”, shifts into a higher gear and lurches forward with the good cool stuff. If you can survive this chapter, you’ll do just fine with the rest of the book because this is where the water suddenly gets deep with introduction of “Hooks and Filters” and the ways of “Pimping Your Child Theme.”
Chapter 6 is devoted to the esoteric science of creating “Widgets.” It’s rare that this topic is exposed this well in a WP book.
In the next chapter we learn about various “Theme Options” like how to create an Options Panel, or adding Color Variants, etc. It’s all (supposed to be) fun and icing on the cake.But let me confess: I personally made it through Chapter 5 but had difficulty replicating the detailed instructions in the next two chapters. I’m still trying to figure out where I did go wrong. Part of my problem I’m sure was due to the web host server on which my WP is installed. It kept crashing on me and giving weird errors. So I’m really not holding the book accountable for my difficulties. Since it’s published by Sitepoint, a publishing house that I trust, I’m sure eventually I’ll figure out where exactly I went wrong.
Chapter 8 is devoted to “Selling Your Theme” which includes some facts perhaps you may not be aware of. So in that sense it is useful. But let’s face it: coding and selling are two different arts and I doubt it if they ever reside in the same soul. Usually people who can code don’t have any clue about selling anything; and those who can sell with their eyes closed wouldn’t know a variable if it fell on their heads. So, if you can teach yourself how to develop your own themes by studying this tutorial book, I’d say go and find yourself a marketing partner and let him or her handle the sales.
P.S. You need to know how to code in PHP to really understand some of the exercises in this book. It’s not for total beginners.