If I am totally honest there aren't many computer books that I actually find useful, they're generally for beginners or full of information you can get online for the low-cost of a Google search or two.
That's why I like developers cookbooks. Cookbooks are full of simple, easy to digest, recipes that help make your life that bit easier.
Thankfully the WordPress 2.7 Cookbook is no exception. It starts off covering the basics you can read anywhere, but once they're over with it moves on to the tasty parts. WordPress hints and tips that cover common problems with 'recipes' for solving the issue; often in multiple ways.
The book is clearly for people with WordPress experience, and doesn't spend long on the basics. To be able to make the most of it you will need a decent grounding in WordPress and PHP, however experienced developers moving to WordPress will also find it a good primer.
Written by Jean-Baptiste Jung the WordPress cookbook is full of the types of content you can find on his websites WPRecipes and CatsWhoCode. Having read his blogs for a while - and even recently purchasing a WordPress domain from him - I was eager to see what the book contained.
Like his blogs, WPRecipes in particular, the cookbook is full of bite sized code samples that help you solve a lot of common WordPress problems. Being a WordPress ninja myself I already knew a fair few of the tips, but even so there were still some nuggets that have given me ideas for future projects and themes.
As I mentioned at the start of the review I rather like the format of this type of book. Generally a problem is mentioned, and then 2 or 3 alternative recipes are given as solutions. This does a few things:
- It solves the problem
- It shows you different methods which may in turn open your eyes to other new techniques
- It exposes much of the WP internals encouraging you to dig into the insides.
- It shows you different perspectives on a problem, which hopefully you will learn from and may help you solve other problems in the future.
Even better, there's very little wrong with the book. It would have been nice if there had been some more in-depth explanations for the recipes but there's plenty of detail considering the amount of code.
One thing that bugged me a little is the editing. Jean is not a native English speaker and that often shows in the way he writes. It's not something that should put you off at all, but I do think it's something the book's editor should have picked up.
All in all there is a lot to recommend about WordPress 2.7 Cookbook. It covers a lot of ground in an easy to digest fashion. Keep in mind that it's for the more experienced (or adventurous?) WordPress dev and you won't go wrong.