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WordPress Professional Plugin Development

A formula for success:

  1. Put together an idea and outline for a book that hasn’t been covered in-depth before.
  2. Gather three of the most talented WordPress developers/writers and have them write the book.
  3. Release the book and watch the Elves return back to Middle Earth to rejoice with men.

Professional Plugin Development, written by Ozh Richard, Justin Tadlock, and Brad Williams, is a much-needed and very timely book.

Even after releasing my own book (ahem), there were several that have approached me saying they needed a start-from-the-basics WordPress plugin development book. And while Professional Plugin Development does teach the basics of plugin development, it quickly moves on to much more complex topics.

The book covers the topics I care most about, such as:

  • WordPress Plugin Foundation and Best Practices
  • WordPress Security
  • WordPress Actions and Filters (aka, hooks)
  • And… (ahem) Ajax

But the book goes beyond basic plugin development. It teaches you about plugin options, CRON for scheduling common tasks, storing data (whether it is via post types, transients, or options), the HTTP API (for retrieving remote data), users (how to set up roles and capabilities), localization (err, internationalization), and how to test plugin performance.

For a novice PHP and WordPress developer, this is a good starting point. But don’t think of this book as your way to learn PHP, jQuery, or even basic WordPress (there’s WordPress for Dummies for that).

This is a book written by developers for developers. And I must say that I learned a lot from this book, and I’ve been developing WordPress plugins and themes for almost six years.

Here are the things I learned most from this book:

  • The Why. I’ve used a lot of the techniques from the book before, but now I have a better understanding of why the techniques should be implemented. An example is security and WordPress coding best practices.
  • Rewrites and Cron. These two topics escape me (no pun intended) for some reason, but I have a much better understanding of how everything works behind the scenes.
  • Security. Security can not be stressed enough, and very solid security tips are sprinkled throughout the book (and the topic even receives treatment via its own dedicated chapter).
  • Multisite. I’ve been working with multisite for almost a year now, and it’s a topic I’m still learning in-depth. The chapter gives a great explanation of terms and common pitfalls.

Last, but certainly not least, the book goes into great detail for what you should do after you’ve released a plugin, whether you want to release it for free in the official WordPress repo, or have it available exclusively on your own site (whether commercial or free). The book explains marketing, how to set up automatic updates (albeit a bit glossed over), and how to get the plugin on the official repo.

Professional Plugin Development (Amazon.com, non-affiliate) is a highly recommended purchase. It’s currently available for pre-order, but will be out soon. You can also pick up the ebook (Wrox.com, non-affiliate) at Wrox. Make sure you use the coupon code FROST to get a nice discount.

9 Responses to “WordPress Professional Plugin Development Book Review”

  1. Justin Tadlock March 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Thanks for the review, Ronald. This might be our first review, at least it’s the first I’ve read. So, the anxiousness that’s been building, waiting for that first review, is finally over. I’m glad even someone with your skill set learned a few things from the book.

    • Ronald Huereca March 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

      Thanks, I was trying to find a naked picture of Brad to make the review much better, but couldn’t fine one :(

      Congrats on the book release. Very well done IMO.

  2. José Pardilla March 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I have the book pre-ordered at amazon since i learned about it, can’t wait. Thanks for the review!

  3. richard March 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    I got already the Kindle version from Amazon. I also got 3% discount on the price.

    After a fast look I think this is the must have book not only for plugin developers but also for theme developers since the latter will eventually become also plugin developers.

  4. David Gwyer March 3, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    I’m seriously tempted to get the Kindle but I think you should get more discount than you currently do for a digital only copy.

    Mean-while still waiting for my ‘print’ copy of the book but it has been delayed by Amazon. :(

  5. Dasha March 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks for reviewing Ronald. Sounds great! Definitely now in my “to-buy” list :)

  6. Simon March 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Just pre-ordered it on Amazon UK where the printed version is £8 cheaper than the Kindle one!

  7. Jeremy Tarrier (WordPressAtWork.com) May 23, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Hello Ronald,

    Thank you for your review. I was on the edge about whether to buy or just go and borrow a copy from the library.

    With the WROX discount code you mentioned I got 35% off the price so I am now the proud owner of the eBook.

    Now it’s time to delve into plugin development…

    All the best,


  8. Wordpress Development November 10, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    I have seen here very helpful reviews here.