Chad Warner's Reviews > WordPress Bible

WordPress Bible by Aaron Brazell
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's review
Jul 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: web-design, non-fiction, wordpress
Recommended for: WordPress developers
Read in July, 2011

This is a comprehensive WordPress book; topics include getting started, plugin development, theme development, content management, and maintenance. I’m a web designer who creates WordPress sites for small businesses, so I focused on SEO, plugin recommendations, and theme development, and skimmed plugin development. My favorite parts were those about SEO for WordPress, CPTs (custom post types), the Loop and WP_Query, template files, hooks, template tags, and theme best practices.

This book is by far the largest, most technical WordPress book I’ve read so far. It’s the perfect desk reference for WordPress developers. Its 700+ pages contain explanations, PHP i snippets, and tables of hooks, tags, and parameters. The book was published in 2011 and covers WordPress 3.1. Author Aaron Brazell is a WordPress core contributor, and technical editor Mark Jaquith is one of the WordPress core developers.

The book focuses almost exclusively on PHP, and barely discusses HTML, CSS, JavaScript. The author recommends reading HTML XHTML and CSS Bible by Wiley to learn HTML and CSS.

Theme and plugin development
register_sidebars creates multiple widgetized areas (sidebars). You can even skip arguments to use WordPress defaults.
• home.php displays the home page of the blog, not necessarily the homepage of the site. is_home() is true when on the blog home page.

The WordPress database
• The db object is assigned to the handler $wbdb. When you need to interact with the database, make the $wpdb object global with global $wpdb;.
• The posts table is a good place to store data, as an alternative to creating new tables. WordPress ignores post_types it doesn’t recognize.
• The options table should be used to store settings.
• Use insert() to insert data into MySQL. Data should be raw (unescaped) since WordPress handles sanitization.
• Use $wpdb->prepare() to sanitize SQL statements to protect against SQL injection.

Data sanitization
esc_html() takes a string of text to be enid as a single argument, and returns a sanitized string of HTML to a variable.
esc_attr() escapes HTML attributes. Its usage is identical to esc_html().
esc_url() sanitizes URLs, and esc_url_raw() sanitizes URLs for non-HTML use.
prepare() escapes data going into MySQL.

Plugin recommendations
All in One SEO Pack for SEO
Custom Post Type UI for custom post types and taxonomies
WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache (more advanced) for caching
Role Manager for managing roles and capabilities
IntenseDebate Comments for comments
Polldaddy Polls & Ratings for polls and surveys

Theme recommendations
• Free theme frameworks: Twenty Ten, Thematic
• Premium theme frameworks: Genesis by StudioPress, Builder by iThemes

Host recommendations
• WordPress-optimized hosts: Page.ly and WP Engine
• Shared hosts: DreamHost and BlueHost
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