WordPress Application development book review and free giveaway
June 30, 2015
TL;DR: Packtpub was kind enough to give me 2 digital copies to give away to my readers. Please leave a comment below, add a sentence or two what app you're working on or why you'd like to win this book. I'll pick 2 winners on July 12th.
WordPress has come along way from being just a blogging platform to becoming a full-featured CMS site. It is now even being used as a platform for web and mobile applications. Within the platform, there’s everything web developers need to build “average” web application plus one of the biggest open source communities.
Web applications are more than just static websites. There are many moving parts and usually it requires some sort of custom development, in other words it’s hard to grab off the-shelf templates (or themes), install it and have finished web application. Most likely, a developer has to make tons of customizations or not even use any templates (starting from scratch gives more control and produces cleaner, leaner code).
WordPress may not be ideal for every web app out there, but it’s a good fit for some apps. There are many themes and plugins that are available (free and premium). It’s easy to extend, customize and find support. The only downside is - it may not be as flexible as new web application frameworks like Ruby on Rails or Meteor.js.
I had a privilege to be a technical reviewer in the recently released book:
This book covers all the areas required to build a common web application. It goes into great detail discussing building blocks of WordPress and how to use them while building your app.
The book has chapters on how to use built in features like:
*APIs is also covered here. Even if you’re an experienced WordPress developer, this material will give a fresh perspective on how all this works together.
**Creating Apps: For Web Designers and Web Developers **
The best way to learn is by doing. The author creates an example portfolio app for web designers and web developers. The app starts with user management. Almost any web app requires user registration and login. In this case, the book covers topics like built in user management and everything from login to user roles. You can even learn how to create custom front end registration forms and use hooks and actions to connect it to the database.
Understand how wordpress works to develop apps…
Any web app needs a place to store data in their database. Some new “front end” only frameworks use PaaS to store data (platform as a service) - for example Parse and Firebase. WordPress uses MySQL (free and open source). It has its own structure, which is created the first time you install WordPress. Understanding this structure and how the data is stored gives you a better understanding of how WordPress works. When you know how WordPress works, it makes it easier to extend it or even utilize what’s built-in.
Custom post types are one of the most important additions to WordPress that makes it possible to develop web apps. It’s possible to create any type and any number of custom post types (not just posts and pages). This is a very powerful feature - it’s covered in this book as well.
Plugins are a recommended way to customize your website (or app), that’s where you want to store most of the business logic for your app, and use a theme just to display the data. In MVC terms V (view) is your theme, C (controller) is your plugins and M (model) is your database. The book covers plugin basics and examples of how to make one by yourself.
The author included a few other important areas for any web applications. In almost any framework, Admin dashboard is not available, so having it built for you is a huge time saver. All you have to worry about is learning how to use it and customize it – the admin area helps admins manage the app once it’s in production. Page templates are great for displaying custom views (home page, portfolio page, etc).
Third Party Libraries
Using third-party libraries is not avoidable; there is a big chance you’ll need to include libraries, like jQuery, Angular or other ones. The book has good examples how to utilize Backbone.js on the front-end, phpMailer and oAuth on the back-end. When building any app, you as a developer want to have an API access. This access is necessary whether you want to access the data from mobile app or built companion front-end (like one with Backbone.js or Angular.js), the book has a chapter on XML-RPC API, which is built-in to WordPress. The book is not very long (350 pages), but it covers all the necessary information on how to build a web application. After reading the book and following the example - you’ll have a good understanding how WordPress works and how to effectively use built-in features. Plus, you’ll gain an understanding of how you can customize it when needed.
Packtpub was kind enough to give me 2 digital copies to give away to my readers. Please leave a comment below, add a sentence or two what app you're working on or why you'd like to win this book. I'll pick 2 winners on July 12th.