Always on the lookout for new resources to share with others to help learn WordPress related topics, I came across an eBook published ($29.99-$39.99) by long time WordPress developer Curtis McHale. I got in touch with Curtis to ask him a few questions concerning his book, including whether or not he plans on contributing to the WordPress handbook project.
What was the inspiration for writing the book?
I wanted to write the book after dealing with so much code from beginning developers. Yes it was bad, but they just didn’t know any better so what else could you expect? My hope was that by reading the book a beginning developer, or developer not familiar with WordPress, would have a great set of road signs as they built stuff.
No it doesn’t cover every part of WordPress, but it’s a great overview so that the reader is left with a way to evaluate all the random tutorials you come across online. There are a lot of bad ones, and when you don’t have any framework to judge them you just use the bad ones with the good..
Have you seen a good response to the book since its release?
I’d say it depends on how you want to measure it. Am I sitting back in a pool of money not doing client work? Nope. Book sales were pretty good at the beginning but they have tapered off quite a bit.
Out of the few review copies I sent out anyone that has provided any feedback has said that the content is good and does hit it’s goal.
Ultimately it’s still super awesome to wake up and see a book sale, or make a sale on the weekend. I’m pretty happy with getting it out there and I’d do another one. So yes I am happy with the response.
What do you hope readers will gain after reading your book?
As I said above, a way to judge all the information on WordPress out there. The problem is not finding what you want, it’s finding something good.
This book is not for experienced developers. You may pick up a few tips/hints but it won’t be revolutionary at all.
What will readers find in WordPress Development Professional that they wouldn’t be able to find in the Codex?
First, it’s all in one spot. You don’t have to dive between 50 different pages to find best practices on Themes, plugins…
Outside of that, you get a good insight in to how I develop projects. It’s always interesting to see what someone else does different from you. It at least can make you evaluate the way you do things to see if you’re right and I’m wrong.
Have you thought about contributing to any of the Handbook projects such as Developing WordPress Themes (in adherence to the theme review guidelines) or Developing Plugins for the repository?
Yes and I was in on a few meetings for the handbooks at the beginning, but I’m terrible at keeping up with all the IRC meetings. Technically I’m a Theme Reviewer (haven’t done much in a while) and I’ve done a bunch of documentation for 3.5 on specific functions.
If you really tracked my contributions you’d find a flurry of activity in one spot (like documentation) then I go dark for a while. With the 3.5 documentation I just got on the blog post about things that were needed and knocked off 10 functions in an afternoon. Did a bit of clean up and then I haven’t done much with docs since. I had about the same thing going with Theme Review, did a bunch then a few here and there, then I haven’t done much.
I always think that I should be doing more to assist, but then it’s a matter of finding time.
Are there any plans for a second edition?
Yes there are plans for a second Edition. I’ve got a bunch of notes going on things I should check up on, some spelling mistakes have been submitted. I’d like to add screencasts for some portions as well.
It’s more likely that I’ll release a few other ‘micro courses’. I’ve got outlines for Transients, Roles and Caps, and post meta. They’d have a book, screencasts blog content and access to a general help/discussion forum. Costs will probably be between $10 – $20 and to keep access to the support forum after a year there will be some fee. At least that’s my pricing thoughts today. Once I get the outlines done I’ll put them out to my email list (you know the proven customers) for some voting to see which one goes first.