Ravi writes "In recent times, blogs have empowered numerous individuals and groups by allowing them a platform to air their thoughts. This has been made possible because of the development of numerous blogging tools. One which has gained mass appeal in the blogging community is Wordpress. What is exciting about this tool or blog engine is that even a lay person can easily master its use and get his or her blog up and running in no time."
Wordpress Complete authored by Hasin Hayder and published by Packt Publishing is a book ideal for any beginning blogger who intends to set up his/her own Wordpress blog. The book is divided into 10 distinct chapters with each chapter describing a particular feature of the Wordpress blog.
I found the book unique in that instead of jumping right into installing and configuring Wordpress, the author takes time to explain the concept of a blog and the different ways in which you can blog. All the blogs irrespective of the blogging engine being used share some common terminology. This is explained in the very first chapter. In the same chapter, the readers are given a bird's eye view of the different blogging engines — both the free ones and those which cost money. The readers are made aware of the pros and cons of each of them.
Installing Wordpress is easy. It is a two step install process. However when you intend to host a Wordpress blog on a remote host, a few factors come into play depending upon what is offered by your web hosting provider. There is more than one way of installing a Wordpress blog on a remote host. This is dealt with clearly in the second chapter.
The third chapter covers choosing and installing themes, the different types of themes and their file composition.
The fourth chapter titled "Blogging your heart out", embarks on an extensive trip explaining the concept of posts and different ways of adding posts in Wordpress such as posting via email. Apart from that, this chapter contains an exhaustive introduction to the rich text editing interface which is the default editor. One also gets to know more about the features common to all blogs such as trackbacks, pinging as well as some Wordpress specific features.
You might wonder why you should buy a Wordpress book when the bulk of the documentation is freely available online. You will find this book to be a very good asset for beginner Wordpress bloggers because the author introduces a wealth of information which will require a lot of digging online to find. For example, the author explains how to put together an image gallery in Wordpress which I was not aware of before I read the book.
Chapter 6 deals with the all important topic of Feeds and Podcasts. There are four different feed formats and Wordpress supports all of them. Feeds are an easy way for the visitors of a site to keep track of the most recent changes in the content of a website.
While the first 6 chapters are targeted at Wordpress users, the remaining 4 chapters are more useful for Wordpress developers. On that note, developing themes form the basis of the 7th chapter. Here the author demonstrates how to build a theme by starting from scratch. Wordpress is essentially an amalgamation of PHP code, CSS and standards compliant HTML and this chapter has a fair sprinkling of code snippets with explanation. After going through the chapter, I was able to get a very good idea of the different files and their content which form the heart of Wordpress.
The next chapter titled "Community Blogging" provides a brief outline of a parallel project of Wordpress which is the Multi-user Wordpress and goes by the name Wordpress MU.
Chapter 9 titled "Developing plug-ins and widgets" is a very interesting chapter with the author explaining the process of creating widgets which are small bits of code incorporating third party functionality.
There is also an exclusive chapter which acts as an administrative reference where a number of problems that Wordpress administrators might face and their possible solutions are listed.
The book takes a reader from the installation to the configuration of every aspect of Wordpress to eventually give some troubleshooting tips. There is no dearth of relevant screenshots. The language used is clear and to the point. The author also provides Web references in many places. In short, I found this book to be an ideal resource for bloggers who wish to host their blog on Wordpress.
Ravi Kumar likes to share his thoughts on all things related to GNU/Linux, Open Source and Free Software on his blog linuxhelp.blogspot.com.
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