Review of Digging into WordPress…and Giveaway too!

I’m just going to go ahead and say it in the first sentence – Digging into WordPress was the best computer book I’ve ever read. Period.

Digging into WordPress was written by Chris Coyier, of css-tricks.com and Jeff Starr. The book is 375 pages of WordPress tricks, customizations and theming. It’s a great book for all levels of web development – from the very beginner, to the seasoned coder new to WordPress and even to the advanced WordPress developer.

First Thoughts

The book itself is really heavy, and everything about it is huge. The font has to be around 16-18pt size (good if you’re blind like me) and the table of contents is extensive, listing regular chapters and subsections. The binding is spiral bound, which means it sits nice and flat on the table while reading. The cover itself is printed a little cheaply (parts of it have flaked or worn off) but the pages are of very good quality.

Inside The Mind of Chris and Jeff

I’m a pretty advanced user of WordPress, so I wasn’t sure that the $67 print version (I can’t read books on the screen – sorry) was going to help me at all – and it’s VERY expensive for a book. But I’ve been looking at giving some new development books a try and since I’m a self-taught user of WordPress, I wanted to see if there was anything I was missing – turns out I’ve been missing a lot.

The book has lots of chapters, so I won’t review each one like I normally do. The book covers everything – from installation to theme development to security to SEO and everything in between. It’s a really GREAT manual.

Normally computer books put me to sleep very quickly – which is one of the reasons I tend not to read them. Not so with Digging into WordPress, the tone of the book is very light and engaging and they even crack a few geeky jokes – enough to keep the reader very interested. It also makes the book seem very personable.

A few cons…

I heard Chris and Jeff are getting ready to put out the second version of the book – which if you have the PDF you get free updates. (Kinda sucks for my $67 print version though) It’s supposed to add a lot more new information and fix some errors.

There were only a few cons to Digging into WordPress that I found. The biggest, obviously, is the huge sticker price for the print version. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30 for a book ever in my life.

The second con is that the book tended to repeat itself in places, almost exactly word-for-word. They would mention a plugin or trick in one chapter of the book, then two or three chapters later, would mention the exact same thing. That really got annoying.

They also stuck a few tips in the weirdest places. I think I was on the customizing comments chapter when they mentioned title or meta tags or something. What did that have to do with comments? Beats me.

Is it worth it?

YES. Buy the PDF or printed version if you’re really interested in WordPress. I learned several things that I was able to implement on this site already, and will on future clients’ sites. Even though they weren’t exactly on the same topic, Digging into WordPress blew The Smashing Book out of the water – so if you only have money for one, go with the WordPress book.

Also, if you’re a designer who’s looking for great tips on designing themes, this book isn’t for you. It’s strictly code and admin items only, so you won’t find any design tips in it.

Do you want a copy?

Then you’re in luck! I’m giving away one copy of the Digging into WordPress PDF! All you have to do is follow these two quick and simple steps:

  • Retweet this post
  • Comment below on why you want this book

That’s it! Contest starts now and ends this Friday, 5p.m central time. I’ll choose the winner randomly. Good luck!