Another Review – BuddyPress Child Themes

Once again, I was asked to review an e-book for Packt Publishing.  This was a how to on BuddyPress and how to develop a theme for BuddyPress.  Here is my review:

Maybe I was expecting a more in depth or detailed instructions, specifically directed to “how to build a theme” – what I got was (as the author admits) a whirlwind tour of both WordPress and BuddyPress, a lot of code thrown about with not much explanation, and a ton of links to the codex and other resources to get more in depth information.

The first third of the book is all about installing WordPress and BuddyPress, something I know how to do, and I would assume anyone considering BuddyPress would know as well. At least the WordPress part could be skippped, perhaps a section on how a BuddyPress install is different than a WordPress install.

Once into themes, and theme basics, and developing a theme, it got more interesting. However, I found a lot more allusions to the information I wanted than the information itself. Some teaser information was given, with a link to the codex to follow up. Many times, code was given to add with no breakdown as to what each line was for or what the code actually did. Instructions were to just copy this code to your functions.php or a template file, and such and such function is added. I suppose this is where the included files come in; you are free to tweak them and play with them to see what happens.
In short, I was hoping the book itself would be a guide or manual I could use to create a child theme for BuddyPress. Instead, it was more of an overview of where to get the information to create a child theme – ie, the codex. I was also surprised at the number of grammatical errors there were, and the lack of a coherent flow to the material. I was often confused as to why some things were included where they were. Granted, the reviewers likely were all coders or designers, not grammar experts or copy writers, but still….

If you are interested in this title or others relating to web design, and technology in general, check out the $5 sales, going on through January 3 at Packt Publishing.