Review: Professional WordPress Plugin Development (2011)

Being a theme designer & developer, Professional WordPress Plugin Development is a breath of fresh air in a community where learning material is oftentimes scattered, fragmented or incomplete. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great resources out there, but you’ll need to dig for them. Having a concise reference book and/or ‘best practices’ guide is essential to a more efficient workflow. Brad Williams, Ozh Richard and Justin Tadlock have teamed up to deliver just that for the WordPress community. The content is well structured and gets right to the point, so don’t expect any motivational speeches or manifesto’s in the style of Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin. This is purely related to how to create better WordPress plug-ins, free of any politics or opinions. In other words, a perfect companion for your keyboard.

That being said, I find the following chapters to be of great value to me (being on the theme side of the business):

  • 6) Plugin Security
  • 7) Plugin Settings (mainly dealing with the various API’s)
  • 13) Cron
  • 16) Debugging and Optimizing

This isn’t to say that the other chapters are of lesser value, by no means, but I always had more trouble finding great documentation online for the above matters then topics like custom post types, localization or shortcodes (although the segment on Geocoding was new to me, thank you). It’s an entirely worthwhile investment at this point in time (I get the impression that WordPress moves fast enough to require updated editions periodically). As a theme developer, the only thing that I didn’t see was any mention of the mysql2date() function which is really handy for internationalization (please correct me if I missed out on it).

In terms of print quality, it would have been nice to have color printing (I’m not a developer remember ;) ), this way different syntax can be color-coded and in turn, the <500 pages are more manageable to sift through (but at the same time, I don’t need that sort of guilty conscience with regards to the environment).

Congratulations to the 3 authors, I look forward to more publications by the trio (though I’d also very much like to see Samuel Wood or Andrew Nacin work on some WP books at one point). I don’t have any referral incentive for posting this review, so head over to Amazon and get yourself a copy.