Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Wordpress the missing manual

The missing manual series consistently provides an excellent guide to every aspect of the program or product and this interation in the series is no exception.

Since Wordpress is more of a service than an actual product, the author faced a unique challenge of making it relevant and useful without get stuck by the fact that Wordpress does frequent updates and tweaks to its products. The features were presented in such a way that they empowered the reader to understand the concept and not get caught up in the very detailed aspects of features that could change over time such as where an option is located or which menu to click on. This was less of a tutorial and exercise based book but rather an exhaustive feature guide that didn't get bogged down in overly technical aspects such as the nitty gritty of php or sql databases and was written from an end user perspective. The book mostly ignored fluffy discussions of why you should blog or what you should blog about and keep it all about setup, usage, and maintenance.

The flow of the book assumes no prior knowledge of blogs hosted by Wordpress or self-hosted blogs and clear distinctions were made where applicable between the two versions. After reviewing setup and installation the book talks about how to enrich your blog with media, pages, and comments and then eventually going into the advanced concepts of plugins and multiple authors and then finally turning a blog into a full-fledged website which is all the rage today. This flow allows someone already familiar with how to setup Wordpress to pick up the book to start where the reader's individual skill set ended.

Even though I am an experienced user of Wordpress, the sections on plugins and optimizing the use thereof was extremely helpful and the index was invaluable when I got stuck on a particular feature. Great book for someone who wants to move beyond simply writing a blog and work on taking ownership of it without paying a consultant or designer to do so.

Five out of Five Dogcows