In: , , ,
On: 2009 / 10 / 29
Shorter URL for this post:

packtpub-wordpress-pluginsA few months ago (yeah, that long) I was asked by Packt Publishing if I would like to review a copy of WordPress Plugin Development: Beginner's Guide by Vladimir Prelovac. Needless to say, I thought this could be fun and interesting, so I jumped on the occasion, and finally found some time to read the book and share my thoughts about it.

In a word

My conclusion first, for those in a rush: it is a great book. It's really rich. For people knowing the basics of PHP and willing to give WordPress plugins a first shot, it should be a fantastic read. I wished I could have read something like this five years ago when I began coding plugins for WordPress :)

What's cool about the book

What is remarkably cool about this book is the diversity of topics it covers. Vladimir dissects 6 of his plugins as a pretext for discussion about development, and doing so addresses the following topics: conditional tags, hooks, insertion of Javascript, translation of a plugin, creating a widget, using Ajax in plugins, using shortcodes, handling options, nonces, fiddling with TinyMCE, page templates, custom fields, user roles and more… This is truly porn for beginners.

Of course, despite its 300 pages, the book won't make you the definitive expert on each and every of these topics, but serves as an eye opener: it will provide the "owwww you can do this??" experience most beginner coders don't know about, show how easy it is, and then gives suggestion to enhance or improve the give examples.

The book's tag line is: "Learn by doing: less theory, more results". And that's no lie: each topic has a "Time for action" paragraph with actual code, explanations and references, then opens up to a "Have a go Hero" section where the reader will find suggestions for exercises and improvements.

While the core topic of the book is plugin development and code, Vladimir also gives in his book excellent advices about the befores and the afters of the coding job. The book explains what WordPress and plugins are good for, how to promote your new plugin, the basics with SVN management, or offering support for your code.

What I would have loved

The only small gripe I have with this book is typographic (so I don't think the author is to blame here, actually). I thought the headings were too similar, so I wasn't very sure where new section or subsections would start and end, although that's not a big deal really. But it would be seriously cool to have colored, highlighted code. That would be so much more readable, or maybe I'm just too used to reading code in an editor that can highlight it :) Also, reading "plug-in" instead of "plugin" did hurt my eyes a bit ;)

Final word

Do I recommend the book to someone who wants to step into the wonders of plugin development? Totally. Go buy it. It's not even an affiliate link, I write this because I believe it :)

Shorter URL

Want to share or tweet this post? Please use this short URL:


This entry "Review of “WordPress Plugin Development: Beginner’s Guide”" was posted on 29/10/2009 at 4:38 pm and is tagged with , , ,
Watch this discussion : Comments RSS 2.0.

7 Blablas

  1. Dave Doolin says:

    I have it as well, and have the same beef with the typography and layout. But that's not Vlad's fault.

    One other thing: Vladimir is one of the absolute best WordPress experts: themes, plugins, design, he does it all.

    As it turns, out I need to go dig it out of my bookshelf because I'm coding on plugins today!

    I agree: if you have any interest in plugins, buy this book and read it cover to cover.

  2. Ryan Fitzer says:

    Agreed. This book does a great job of surveying one's options when looking to extend the capabilities of WordPress. I've been writing all my own extensions/plugins since reading (2/3 of the way through so far) this book.

    Thanks for the review Ozh.

  3. arena says:

    nice post

    it is possible to browse the toc and index here.

  4. Ryan says:

    Just purchased it now. Arrives in 5 – 15 days :)

  5. I am currently reading this book and already had a first look at its content. On the positive side it's really good to have a step by step guide – on the negative side it's too short and I already found the first (minor) error on page 28 where the first "serious" code starts.
    Reading your article gives me the feeling I made the right decision – hope it stays like that.. ;-)


  6. Ryan says:

    Their 5 – 15 day delivery estimate was a bit out of whack, it just arrived today. The first page I opened actually contained an error which was not a good start (recommendation to load something via wp-config.php which will break if wp-config.php is moved, therefore wp-load.php should be used instead).

    The rest of it looks pretty good though. I'm looking forward to having a good read of it some time as there's a lot of stuff in there which I'm not overly familiar with and some stuff I could do with a better understanding of.

    Thanks for the recommendation :) It's looking like a good one so far.

  7. Thomas says:

    A good book to read which leads you step by step to your goals!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>
Gravatars: Curious about the little images next to each commenter's name ? Go to Gravatar and sign for a free account
Spam: Various spam plugins may be activated. I'll put pins in a Voodoo doll if you spam me.

Read more ?