Book Review: Professional WordPress Plugin Development

There’s a really good reason WordPress powers approximately 22% of website on the internet: it’s powerful, easy to use, and seemingly endlessly expandable. You can find a plugin to do practically anything on your WordPress site, the challenge comes from separating the wheat from the chaff.

Once you start trying a few plugins out, it quickly becomes obvious that they’re not all created equal. Some are better designed, better developed, and offer a better user experience. If you’re anything like me, that makes you curious about how they’re setup, and before you know it you’re digging through all the code and getting inspired about making your own.

If you’re interesting in building WordPress plugins, then do yourself a favor right now and invest in a copy of Professional WordPress Plugin Development.

Professional WordPress Plugin Development

Who is Professional WordPress Plugin Development For?

This book is for developers who want to leverage the power of WordPress, as well as theme developers who are looking to add additional functionality to their themes. The book is decidedly developer centric, as one might expect, but it also offers a lot to non-developers who are trying to solve specific issues.

For instance, a theme developer who wanted to build a plugin specifically for custom post types would get a lot of mileage out of Professional WordPress Plugin Development without having to get too deep into the intricacies of PHP development.

What Professional WordPress Plugin Development Covers

Professional WordPress Plugin Development covers everything one would expect, from plugin file structure and naming convention best practices, all the way up to security and optimization. There are even chapters about promoting your plugin (WordPress.org, support forums, etc) and a nice list of development resources.

Each section logically builds on the one before it, making reading the book through in order much more interesting. Once you’ve read the book completely, it will make for a very nice reference manual.

For most items covers, there’s an abstract of the concept, a very basic coding example, and then a more in-depth practical coding example. Like the overall flow of the book, I find that this builds up nicely, with each successive section reinforcing the one that comes before it.

One important thing to note is that the book doesn’t cover coding syntax in any appreciable way. It focuses entirely on plugin development, which assumes a basic understanding of PHP on the part of the reader.

What Works

  • The section on nonces offers one of the best explanation of what a nonce is and why it’s important that I’ve ever read.
  • When the book breaks up code to talk about various pieces of it, it always gives you a complete example at the end so you can see how everything fits together, which is extremely helpful.
  • This is really minor, but I love how the writers insert little references to horror movies in their examples. It’s a little thing, but it makes the lessons more fun, especially when you place a somewhat obscure reference.

What Doesn’t

  • As I mentioned in my review of Professional WordPress Design and Development, it would be really nice to have a color printing with highlighted code. Since this book is decidedly more code heavy, it would be that much nicer here.

The Verdict

If you’re interested in developing your own WordPress plugins – even if they’re simple – this book is an absolute must have. It will give you a firm baseline understanding on plugin development and best practices, and help you avoid a lot of common pitfalls along the way.

Buy a copy of Professional WordPress Plugin Development today.

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