Review: Head First WordPress by Jeff Siarto

Head First WordPress Cover imageThis is the first book in the Head First series by O’Reilly Media that I have read. I was pleased with how well written and entertaining it was. Head First WordPress by Jeff Siarto came out in July 2010. With WordPress’ move to the 3.0 release, this was good timing to help new users know exactly what they would experience when installing the latest version of the software. I was hoping that it would also be a good insight to those of us who have been using WordPress for a while to know what are some of the fundamental differences we would expect with the new version of the software. However, this book is completely written for the first time installer.

The book is a good overview of WordPress and getting it installed. There is no attempt to explain the details of WordPress themes, even though there is a whole chapter devoted to it. There just is not enough time spent on any one subject to get a deep understanding. While there are exercises that help the reader work through modifying a theme, it would be a rare reader who could take what little they learned and apply it to a theme on their own.

There are other areas where the book seems to pretend to give detail, but the reality is that it is still just an overview. As a podcaster I was excited to see that there was a chapter on podcasting. Yet there are too many details that are missing to make it complete.

The best chapter in the book was the one about securing WordPress. While it still did not go into the greatest detail of security, there was enough to feel like you can protect yourself from most hacking situations.

I could recommend the book to someone who is interested in installing WordPress, but is intimidated by the actual process. The book was also well illustrated and entertaining. However, this book is not appropriate for anyone who has installed WordPress more than a couple of times. They won’t find much new information in the pages of the book.

Head First WordPress, 368 pages, Jeff Siarto, O’Reilly Media, 2010.

[I wrote a more detailed summary of Head First WordPress]

Been busy writing, but no new posts

Though things have been quiet on the blog-front, I was very busy during the month of December writing articles at InfoBarrel. I was trying to win the monthly contest. You get points based on the number of words you write per article. I wrote 79 articles that were worth 5 points each and 1 that was worth only 1 point. I earned 396 points for the month. By the time we got to the last 10 days, there were only 2 of us fighting for the top position.

The girl I was competing against may have won 408 points, but we don’t know yet. Or, at least I don’t know. I can’t see how many points her articles are worth until the daily point tally is figured out. It usually updates about 3 AM, my time. But since last night was the end of the contest, the admins seem to manually review the points before posting the final numbers.

So we are in a waiting game.

Having cranked out so much content the last few weeks, I feel like I had to write something today even though there is no news yet on the final numbers. It probably won’t be until Monday or Tuesday before we know since the admins take the weekend off.