“WordPress 3.7 Complete” is one of the books I picked up a few weeks ago, on the “Day Against DRM,” when Packt had all their books on sale for $10 each. I finished reading it last week, so I thought I’d post a quick review. (I’m going to cross-post this to Goodreads and Amazon.)
“WordPress 3.7 Complete” is meant to be an end-to-end overview of WordPress, covering pretty much everything you’d need to know to get a WordPress site up and running. It was last revised in November 2013, so it’s pretty much up-to-date. (WordPress was at 3.9.1, at the time this review was written.)
There are two authors credited on the book, Karol Krol and Aaron Hodge Silver. The book is reasonably well-written, with a few grammatical quirks here and there. (In general, Packt books don’t seem to be too tightly edited for standard usage and grammar.)
The first few chapters do a pretty good job of walking you through the basics: getting a site up and running, either on WordPress.com, or self-hosted; a brief overview of the admin interface; and some details on how to create content and manage comments. (If you’re looking for really detailed information on how to self-host, and how to get past some common problems, this book isn’t the place to find it, though it will give you enough info to get started.)
The book then progresses into more detail about the structure and content of a WordPress site: pages, menus, media, and so on. This is followed by a chapter on plugins and widgets. This includes a list of must-have plugins, which is a good general list, though I might quibble with some of the details.
From there, we continue into a few chapters covering themes, starting with a chapter on choosing and installing themes, and then getting deeper into the subject, including a pretty good start on theme development. This was the most useful part of the book for me, personally, as I didn’t really know anything about WordPress themes, and wanted to learn more.
The book also contains one chapter on plugin and widget development. (Again, this was something I was interested in, as I knew very little about it.) I would say that this chapter gives you a good basic intro to the subject, but if you want to develop a non-trivial plugin from scratch, you’re going to have to do some more reading, elsewhere.
The book also contains a few random chapters that I wasn’t terribly interested in, on podcasting, community blogging, and creating non-blog web sites. I just skimmed through those.
Overall, I’d say the book is worth buying and reading, for someone (like me) who has a little bit of familiarity with WordPress, but wants to learn more, and really start digging into it. I can’t really compare it to any other books on WordPress, as I haven’t read any others, but I’d guess that it compares favorably to something like “WordPress for Dummies” or “WordPress: The Missing Manual”.