Book review: Smashing WordPress

Smashing WordPress by Thord Hedengren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is for the experienced WordPress designer, not the beginner. Although it does touch on some WordPress essentials, it's mostly a how-to guide for creating WordPress themes and plugins, and generally bending WordPress to your will.

The book is laid out well, with colored blocks of code interspersed with the text describing it. There are very few screenshots and diagrams; more of these would have definitely helped me better understand what the code snippets were actually doing.

Notes
WordPress security
Add Secret Keys to wp-config.php
Remove add_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator'); from header.php
Create a new user with admin privileges and delete the default admin
Use an editor account to post
Force SSL encryption on the WordPress admin login page

Design and development
Put functions in functions.php rather than modifying template files to make your changes theme-independent.
Use plugins for everything that extends WordPress functionality. Use plugins instead of custom code whenever possible.
Use functions.php for functionality unique to the theme
Use Pages to work outside WordPress, for external services, feeds, etc.

Use categories for broad sorting, like Music or Books, and use tags like search keywords (author, genre, title)
Use TDO Mini Forms to let users submit posts without logging into the admin panel
External code can slow your site; only include it when necessary
Put social bookmarking links between content and comments
Use Facebook Connect or OpenID for unified logins

Feeds
Promote feeds with links and RSS graphics
Provide full posts in feeds, not just excerpts
Offer alternative subscription methods, such as email
Use FeedBurner

SEO
Use tags
Generate a sitemap with Google XML Sitemap Generator
Link to related posts (use a plugin to generate)
Use breadcrumbs; see the Yoast Breadcrumbs plugin

Portfolio
1. Your work show graphically (not just links)
2. Sell yourself; services offered, who you are, what you're like to work with
3. Easy way to contact you
Add a blog to bring traffic to your portfolio

Plugins
Content
WP Greet Box
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Administrative
No Self Pings
WB-DB-Backup
Contact Form 7
TDO Mini Forms
Google Analyticator or Google Analytics for WordPress
Redirection
TinyMCE Advanced

Comment management
Really Simple CAPTCHA
IntenseDebate Comments or Disqus Comment System

Social networking
ShareThis or AddToAny
Sociable

Subscription
Align RSS Images

SEO
All in One SEO Pack
Google XML Sitemaps
WP Super Cache
Yoast Breadcrumbs

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