Reading about WordPress

Lately I’ve been studying WordPress theme design. My wife runs her own web design business (check her out at if you need a professional web designer in Colorado) and would like to offer custom WordPress themes, but doesn’t know much PHP or have time to learn; given that I’m currently unemployed I figured I’d pick up CSS and PHP so I can help her out when needed.

Accordingly, I have a stack of books that I’ve been reading, on topics ranging from cascading style sheets to introductory WordPress to WordPress Theme Development. Here are a few of the ones I’ve picked up, and what I thought about them.

O’Reilly’s CSS: The Missing Manual is an excellent introduction to cascading style sheets. While I picked up the basics just from poking around in the WordPress code, I knew I needed a deeper understanding of how CSS works to do the type of complex themes my wife wants to offer, and this book delivers. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I’ve picked up enough to handle most of what’s come up so far.

Professional WordPress from Wrox is a mixed bag, starting out with the very basics and jumping all over the place after that. Because I already had a basic understanding of WordPress (and a half-dozen installations under my belt) before I started reading it, and because it didn’t go into a lot of detail on exactly what I was looking for, I didn’t find it as helpful as some of the other books; however, I expect to come back to it as a general reference, particularly once I start working on WordPress plugins.

Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes, again from O’Reilly (through SitePoint) is the book that I’ve gotten the most out of thus far, as it covers exactly what I was looking to learn. While Professional WordPress mentions child themes, this book walks you through the process of actually getting started with one, which was exactly what I needed at the time; I highly recommend it. You can even get a few chapters free from

More reading to come. Stay tuned..

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