Book Review: Professional WordPress by Hal Stern, David Damstra, and Brad Wilson

Like many people, I’ve had an ongoing love/hate relationship with WordPress through the course of running my personal blog and some freelance assignments so I am always open to learning more about the platform. I recently read Professional WordPress by Hal Stern, David Damstra, and Brad Wilson from Wiley Publishing, which unlike many other WordPress books focuses on the platform’s backend and tackles the ins and outs of WordPress in the enterprise. Even having some experience installing WordPress myself, I really didn’t know much about its backend and this book really filled in some gaps in my learning.

While there is not much of anything new to learn in the first two chapters, the book really hits its stride when it takes the reader through the WordPress Core and Loop. Both of these topics might be a bit black box to some WordPress users especially if they’ve never had the opportunity to install and tune the product in the wild.

Users can come to WordPress without much database much less MySQL knowledge at all and the book’s Data Management chapter can certainly help clear up how the backend database works on a WordPress site.

Even if you aren’t a programmer, you can learn from the Plug-in development chapter. As a non-programmer, I found the chapter educational since I’ve run into plug-in problems on my personal site in the past.

It’s easy to think of WordPress as just a blogging platform but it can do so much more and the book does a great job of attacking the traditional view of the WordPress platform by addressing how to use WordPress as a content management system and inside the corporate enterprise. Both chapters should change thinking and inspire some potential projects (they sure did for me!).

The downside of this book is that it is probably due an updated since the book uses WordPress 2.9 for examples and was published in 2010.

Despite the scenic route this book took to publication, I still recommend it if you are seeking to learn more about the WordPress back end, database, plug in development, and theme creation. It has great coverage of the underpinnings of WordPress under one cover, which can be valuable to readers involved in WordPress implementation and troubleshooting.

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