It always helps when evaluating a book to understand who it was written for. This book is written for reasonably experienced web designers, those who actually understand the what web code does and how it works, not just someone who can run Dreamweaver.
Much of the custom functionality available in Wordpress is accessed by coding theme pages. This is a coder's book. It won't hand-hold a new blogger through learning to blog. It won't glow on and on about adding special plugins. It won't try to impress you with some shiny Wordpress themes and one click installation. It will show you how to tweak Wordpress theme pages in ways that greatly expand on the default installation. To do so you need to be reasonably comfortable reading html, php and css. A minimal knowledge of the Wordpress ways of doing things would also be helpful.
If you match those prerequisites, then I can absolutely recommend this book to you. I certainly consider it a worthwhile addition to my bookshelf. The author uses his own Wordpress theme as an example. It is a visually simple but functionally sophisticated theme. Function is what this book is about, how to add highly useful functionality to a Wordpress site. In that it succeeds well. Create your own customized blog display. Create your customized category page display. Tweak your Wordpress site to function like a magazine, want ads site or image gallery. Those are all covered, as is Wordpress' core display concept of the loop. And this is all done with good coding practices.
There's a short section on plugins. It's more of a general introduction than and in-depth chapter. That's fine. Plugin development requires a lot of work and should have a whole book dedicated to it (or more).
If you understand the basics of Wordpress themes but want to do the things you see some of the sophisticate Wordpress sites do. Get this. It will show you how. If you're new to Wordpress, I'd recommend something more basic first.
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