I've received the book "WordPress Top Plugins" by Brandon Corbin from Packt Publishing, the very same company that published my book couple of years ago (I'll get back to that later).
The review might sound bit too critical and I apologize to Brandon up-front as I know what kind of effort he had to put in order to get this book written.
The book explains how to search for, upload and install plugins in detail which is something newbies will appreciate.
Each plugin reviewed in the book has a picture and for more complex plugins additional pictures followed by usage instructions are given.
Quick hints on why the plugin is good or why it was picked as well as 'geek level' of the plugin could be useful for newbies to quickly identify plugins that might be interesting for them.
The book has section on WordPress security plugins which I definitely welcome, and think more needs to be said and done to raise the awareness of people about the security on the Internet.
When I've seen that the book does not mention any of my plugins, I knew there will be 'the bad' section ;)
On a more serious note, I would not easily call a book 'WordPress Top Plugins' without at least providing an explanation what criteria was used to determine the list of top plugins featured in the book. I may be overly scientific in my approach but if you are going to use a title like that, you better have something to back-up your choices other than personal preference. It seems that more adequate title for this book would be 'WordPress Top Plugins By Me'.
For example, WordPress repository can be queried for top plugins by number of downloads and these plugins should probably be mentioned (and some of them are).
Further the book does not mention a single SEO related plugin although at least a quarter of most popular WordPress plugins are SEO related, and a chapter on these plugins could certainly be of lot of help to newbies.
Description for every plugin has a line stating it's license, which of course is the same for each plugin and reads "GNU Public License", because there is simply no other license available to WordPress plugins. Perhaps better use of space would be to tackle this issue and explain why WordPress plugins have to be GPL and what implications does that have.
Some plugins mentioned in the book are not updated for long time and do not even work with latest WordPress.
My overall impression was one of hasty publishing, something I am all too good familiar with.
Word about book publishing today
The book publishing today is not perfect. When I was presented with the opportunity to write a book a couple of years ago I was nothing short of thrilled.
With time I realized that I became only a part of a big industry, which does not care for the sweat I put into writing the book but only cares about the profit. Preferring quantity over quality seemed not to be unknown practice.
I think book publishing should be different. It should not become what Internet has become, as the act of keeping the book in your hands and reading it, is something very intimate, almost 'sacred'.
I had a great UK editor when I started writing my book for Packt. He taught me about the basics of writing the book, how to structure the chapters and how to pass my knowledge to the reader.
With time my editor was gone to other books and some new guys appeared. These new guys were not nearly as good as my original editor. They insisted on meeting the schedule for printing the book and did not care as much to review the script or the code, or to offer good writing advice.
At the time scheduled printing date came, I had a 17 page document describing what needed to be fixed in the script. It was never edited into the book although I insisted several times.
Also the guy that was signed as a reviewer and got his own page in the book with biography, never actually exchanged a single word with me.
That all left a bitter taste, because I spent one entire year of my life writing this book.
Despite all that the book received good reviews, and I got a lot from it, mostly in terms of recognition and business opportunities.
But I am pretty sure if I was to write another book today and I could not get an 'old school' publisher, I would prefer the self-publish route.
- Aftermath of my WordPress Plugin Development book
- WordPress Plugin Development Beginner’s Guide released
- WordPress Plugin Development Book Reviews
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