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Book Review: Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes (2010)

by Mark D. English
| on Tue., 6 Sep. 2016
| Categories: Web Development, WordPress

I am reading Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes by Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R. Jones, and Jeffery Way (published 6 years ago).

First off: I don’t have the interest right now in building themes for other website publishers to use for their WordPress site (although maybe I will a couple years from now); I just want to learn to build a simple site, particularly the one you’re viewing, with WordPress as the backend. In other words, I want to custom design a simple website using WordPress for the CMS and blog functionality. That being said, after reading the first two chapters, namely Introducing WordPress and Planning Your Theme, it is seeming like much of this book doesn’t apply to me (especially after already having a graphic design background and a basic knowledge of WordPress). The second chapter, Planning Your Theme, is mostly common sense, although it is probably a good idea to read for website designers and developers who want to create themes for other website publishers to use.

I ended up skimming through the third chapter, Theme Design 101, and I’m quite confident that that’s not the kind of stuff I want to read about right now (mostly design related stuff); I’ll read over that later when it’s time for me to design websites for clients. (Right now I just want to get the website you’re looking at now up and running and looking good.)

After reading chapter four, Theme Frameworks, I felt that this book will help me with what I wanted to do. However, this book guides you into developing a theme design using the Thematic theme framework, and, when I went to install the Thematic theme framework, I saw that it hasn’t been updated in over two years. Then, after I installed Thematic in my WordPress themes folder and activated it, I looked at the source code for my site’s home page and noticed that Thematic is not producing HTML5 semantic elements. This book guides you into developing a theme design using the Thematic theme framework, and I now have a concern that Thematic is not the best framework to use. Then I found this article.

Now I’m not sure what to do.


After doing a bit of research, I found Beans (a free WordPress theme framework according to their documentation and this website). I’m going to try to use Beans as the framework instead of Thematic as I go through the book and see how that works.


All in all, I feel this is a good book for learning theme development and design even though it does guide you by using a theme framework that is no longer updated. By going through the Beans docs and support while going through the book, I was able to gain basic knowledge of building a website with a WordPress backend. I am still on the third last chapter, i.e. Widgets, but I think I can safely say that this book is about 60% suitable for me given the facts that I’m not interested at this stage in creating themes for other people to use and that I choose to use the Beans theme framework instead of Thematic. Before reading this book, I would recommend gaining a basic knowledge of WordPress with a course such as this.


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