Hi, all. I’m so tremendously impressed with WordPress’s capabilities that it occurred to me that there may be a market for a book, something like “The WordPress Handbook”. I e-mailed the O’Reilly editors a brief proposal but haven’t received a reply yet. What do you think, would any of you be interested in printed docs? I think I would have bought a book about WordPress when I first tried installing it if one had been available.
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Why buy a book when you can get all the help you need online ?
And given what is in these online sources, how would you compile such a book without falling foul of copyright ?
Well, the online help is scattered across several web-sites and is not complete. I wouldn’t have any copyright worries because I would write everything from scratch. I’m just thinking that non-technically-inclined users might appreciate a user-friendly guide to making the most of WordPress. A chapter of such a book which I would have greatly appreciated when I was starting out would have been one on Mysql installation and administration. Until I stumbled upon phpmyadmin I was having a heck of a time making WordPress install correctly.
I think you’d be better off doing a ‘blogging’ book, covering a handful of different options — you’d hit a wider audience…
There are already several blogging books out there. I think that a book which thoroughly covered just one high-quality blogging platform (guess which one!) may have an audience. I don’t want to write about Movable Type et al, as I’m a proponent of open-source software and prefer to direct my energies in that direction.
I think a WP book would be great…if it included more than just the docs/help (since that’s available, albeit not in one place, on the ‘net). If you added hacks, customizing, custom themes, how-tos, plugin reviews/help, etc., it would help make it more marketable (and useful).
WP code/versions are in flux constantly…so a book would tend to become dated pretty fast. If you did a self-publish version you could overcome this by frequent revisions/editions, but a traditionally published piece would have a short shelf life, relatively speaking.
Ideally my book would come out just after the release of non-gamma WP 1.5, and I think once 1.5 is out it will be in general use for a substantial period of time.
I plan to include chapters on hacks, plug-ins, and theme creation and customizing, plus CSS tutorials.
Plus WP is so dynalic, by the time it went to print, it would be soooo out of date…..
Maybe an online e-book or some thing…..
The soon-to-be-official WP book: http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page
The Codex pages are a great resource, but many people (myself included) like to have printed manuals as well as on-line docs.
I say go for it. Knowing what amount of work has gone into the current documentation effort by dozens of people over the last year or so, I don’t envy the workload you would be facing, let alone keeping the content current.
Sidebar comment: If every person who had an issue with WordPress documentation would contribute a single page of improvements, then there wouldn’t be a so-called documentation problem. Unfortunately, the documentation work is not a sexy job in comparison to coding work.
Also, at this time, I’d really like to extend my appreciation to those folks who are currently slugging away on Codex. You are all doing excellent work and on behalf of the WordPress community, I thank you all.
You may want to talk to Matt before you go into production. There may be someone all ready working on something like this. Also, he may want some control in the matter being that a book will reach the public masses easier than the online documentation.
I e-mailed Matt when I first had the idea. He responded that as far as he knew there were no WordPress books underway.
If every person who had an issue with WordPress documentation would contribute a single page of improvements, then there wouldn’t be a so-called documentation problem.
I think I must be missing something here. Why would anyone have a problem with documentation if they were capable of writing it themselves? If I knew how to answer my own questions I wouldn’t be getting on other people’s backs about it. Are people really that crazy?
If there was a WordPress book I would definitely buy it, even if it wasn’t ‘official’. After all, I doubt Bill Gates was consulted about the many dummies guides to Micro$oft products.
I wouldn’t have any copyright worries because I would write everything from scratch…Until I stumbled upon phpmyadmin I was having a heck of a time making WordPress install correctly…I plan to include chapters on hacks, plug-ins, and theme creation and customizing, plus CSS tutorials.
All written yourself? Look carefully at those statements you made above 😉 You’re saying that you had problems installing WP initially, and yet you’re going to write everything from scratch covering every facet of WP? Riiighhht… (Dr Evil style)
A book like this could not be written from scratch, by one person, without collaboration from a lot of people. Also the speed at which everything you mentioned (and including WP) develops it would be out of date before the first draft was finished.
Bear in mind that WP may be open source, but a lot of plugins, templates, themes and associated material are released under license by those that created them. The way you knocked copyright aside was worrying…
Nice idea, but I doubt the practicality 🙂
Aren’t all plugins and themes open source? I haven’t seen any that aren’t, and it’s a real surprise to me if the documentation isn’t because I thought that was free to use by anyone. Anyway, WordPress doesn’t develop that fast, wasn’t 1.2 like in May or something?
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