Building Web Apps with WordPress: Book Review

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Building Web App With WordPress

Building Web Apps with WordPress: Book Review

Building Web Apps with WordPress is for PHP-developers who want to take a deeper look at WordPress as an application framework. Thus, this book is not for end users who want to learn how to work with WordPress as a Content Management System. Building Web Apps with WordPress is for PHP-developers that want to create themes and plugins.

Why did I buy the book?

The reason why I bought the book is pretty simple, I wanted to develop a plugin for WordPress. Well, actually I already developed some plugins before but I wanted to get a deeper look at the framework to see what is possible.

Before you keep on reading let me tell you what I think who this book is for. Building Web Apps with WordPress is for you, when you already have some basic PHP skills. The book will help you understand important WordPress functions and lets you avoid beginner’s mistakes. But also keep in mind, that this book does not teach you PHP.

What´s in it?

In the following section I give you an overview of the 16 chapters of Building Web Apps with WordPress:

  1. Building Web Apps with WordPress

In the first chapter you will be taught basics about web apps and the difference between a website and a web app. The authors point out when you should use WordPress and when you better use another framework. So this chapter is directed to the WordPress beginners.

  1. WordPress Basics

Here you will take a deeper look at the directory structure of WordPress. The authors introduce the 3 main directories:

  • /wp-admin
  • /wp-includes
  • /wp-content

The most important directory for you as a developer will be /wp-content since here is where you place plugins and themes.

This chapter will also provide you with information about the database structure of WordPress and some important functions.

  1. Leveraging WordPress Plugins

In my opinion this chapter is the most important one of this book. The authors explain you how to develop your very first plugin. So if you try to develop your first plugin, read this chapter very carefully. It will help you so much to avoid unnecessary beginner´s mistakes.

  1. Themes

Basically the same as described before about plugins.

  1. Custom Post Types, Post Metadata, and Taxanomies

The authors describe the custom post types like Page and Post and they explain you when and why you need them.

  1. Users, Roles, and Capabilities

The main point in this chapter is the Hooks and Filters. When you develop a plugin or a theme there definitely comes the point when you need hooks and filter.

  1. Other WordPress APIs, Objects, and Helper Functions

This chapter is very important for your plugin development in case you want to realize your plugin as a widget. Working with the Widget API can be very tricky. It can be very frustrating if you are not aware of some problems that may occur. Actually this chapter helped me a lot when I created a Social Sharing Widget.

  1. Secure WordPress

    Building Web Apps with WordPress
    Building Web Apps with WordPress: How to make your WordPress Blog more secure – Infographic

This chapter is not only for developers. Even for end users it is very interesting and helpful. The authors show a lot of easy tricks how to make your WordPress website more secure. This goes from trivial stuff like always keeping up to date with the newest versions of WordPress, to hiding the WordPress version in the source code. The suggestions are very well explained and easy to implement, even for someone who has barely no experience in PHP or WordPress.

  1. JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX

Believe me, when it comes to JavaScript WordPress can turn into a huge nightmare. It´s not because of the JavaScript, it´s because of the way you have to integrate it into the WordPress code. Better read this chapter before you start working with JavaScript.

  1. XML-RPC

This chapter covers the XML-RPC API. So it is only necessary when you want to work with XML-RPC.

  1. Mobile Apps with WordPress

You can not only develop web apps with WP. It is also possible to create mobile apps. Therefore WordPress provides a Wrapper that converts your web app code into native iOS or Android code. This chapter gives you an insight on how to work with this Wrapper.

  1. PHP Libraries, External APIs, and Web Services

In case you want to provide your plugin or theme with the Google Maps JavaScript API, Google Translate, Amazon Product Advertising API, Twitter REST API or Facebook you really should read this chapter.

  1. Building WordPress Multisite Networks

The authors explain what a Multisite is and how you set up a Multisite Network in WordPress. This contains the setting up, the database structure and even Multisite Plugins.

  1. Localizing WordPress Apps

In case you want to create a theme or a plugin for multiple languages this chapter might be very interesting for you. The authors show you how to use .po and .mo files and how you can build a website with multiple languages. Trust me, the work with .po/.mo files can be frustrating.

  1. Ecommerce

The important point in this chapter is SSL Certificates. In case you want to offer an online shop or something similar you really should use the HTTPS protocol.

  1. WordPress Optimization and Scaling

The last chapter gives you some suggestions on how to improve pagespeed of your website.


I really recommend this book for developers who want to create their first WordPress plugins or themes. Building Web Apps with WordPress will avoid you a lot of frustration with your first plugins. The authors point out the major points to success and will make your live as a WordPress developer a lot easier.

Building Web Apps with WordPress: Book Review
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