I am now officially pleased I was able to read and review Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes by a grouping of authors: Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R Jones and Jeffrey Way.
This book definitely took my thoughts on WordPress theme design to new levels while simplifying the entire process. The book is made to teach you how to design, build and sell your own themes. But, it is just as informative for someone wanting to extend themes into your own creations for your WordPress blog.
A brief few pages are placed at the beginning to introduce WordPress and what a theme means inside the system. Chapter 2 starts the process of planning your theme and stresses the importance research of existing themes before building your site. Wireframe design is explained for the entire site and page layouts.
Theme design in Chapter 3 gives great example screenshots and explanations of color selection. The remainder of the chapter is a core port of the book breaking down each individual component of a WordPress theme. I learned incredible amounts in these 30 pages of content.
Theme frameworks are an excellent starting point where you use existing themes and build child themes that refer to them. Chapter 4 gives examples to investigate and start the child theme build. Once we entered Chapter 5 for advanced theme construction I took away a lot of tips as someone that runs multiple WordPress sites, but is not a developer. The simple way they show code usage, inserts and placement made it easy to understand. The authors then start bringing your child theme and customizations together.
Later chapters get into WordPress widget placement, design and even building your own. They close the building process in Chapter 7 with theme options. This runs through creating extra options and controls panels, variants in color and more for someone interested in selling their new creation. it streamlines how a buyer would use and implement your new theme.
The last portion in Chapter 8 surprised me it was in the book as I would not have thought of including it, but it was definitely needed. Chapter 8 covers the licensing, GPL, around your theme and what it means. The authors make you think about support, proper documentation and even tutorials. Some tips at the end help you sell the theme by including options and where to best list it to be sold.
Overall, I am very impressed. Look for a bunch of changes coming to my WordPress based sites very soon. With this book and some basic WordPress knowledge, you can easily create or customize any WordPress theme you can get your hands on.
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