Updating Editions—What did I miss the first time?

Here I thought that being asked to write a book (or three) was pretty cool. Nope, turns out being asked to update them for a second edition is better. If the book was a flop, then the publisher wouldn’t want to spend any more time or money on it, but if it does pretty well, and it needs updating, then they spend money on bringing it up to date.

Right now I’m in the process of updating the outlines and proposals for both Create Your Own Blog and Using WordPress, which is both easy and daunting. It’s easy when there are obvious updates (like using WP 3.2 or 3.3 for the books), but hard when I step back and look at what was missing the first time or what needs to be cut out wholesale.

I started Create Your Own Blog in 2008 and a lot has changed in the blogosphere in the roughly three years gone by. I think the current edition is still pretty relevant, but maybe there are new ways of thinking that might fit better.

Back in 2008 “Lifestreaming” was all the rage, now, not so much.

Facebook Pages? Something important to watch, but not quite there yet.

Posterous, Tumblr and others? Looking important, but WordPress was still ruling the roost (I still think WP is the best around, but I’m certainly biased).

Today, Typepad and MoveableType are essentially also-rans in the blogging world. Blogger is hanging around, and that pretty much describes where it is in the development world. Drupal has made huge strides in three years, and while still isn’t for the novice or simple blog, it’s a kickin’ powerful tool. WordPress has really come a long way in three years, but like I discussed in my WordPress class post, I think it’s WordPress.com that really has come into its own during this time.

Have these changes fundamentally changed the first half of the book (the “how to blog” portion)?

No, not really.

The changes are in what “Six blogging projects” I’ll talk about. Sure the basic personal blog is important, as is the business blog, but what about “lighter” blogs based on Posterous and Tumblr? How does multimedia fit into the today’s blogosphere? What about the blog engine-powered website (like I teach)?

Since my goal with Create Your Own Blog is to make a book that has a long shelf life, I don’t want to follow fans, but I do want to hit the hot topics of the day.

Now on the other hand Using WordPress is a horse of a different color. There is a lot in the current edition that is still correct, even if the version numbers don’t match up. The process of adding plugins and themes is the same. Updates are the same (just better). Menus are essentially the same, but there are more subtle changes that will be important to cover for people to get the most out of WP.

And then there is WP.com.

Even in the short, short time since Using WordPress came out WP.com has really upped the ante and I know that a new edition of Using WP will focus a lot more on WP.com than the first edition did.

But what else?

How deeply should I get into custom themes and creating child themes? Which theme frameworks deserve attention now?

Lots of questions and I have a few ideas and gut feelings on the matter, but what think ye, oh faithful readers?

What did I miss the first time? What’s in, what’s out, and what is the new hot topic?

Your turn…


  1. says

    I’m currently reading “Create Your Own Blog” and I’m creating a couple of WP web sites – one for a local nonprofit and one personal site describing  my experience with the non profit’s site development. I’d like to see a discussion on home page as a page vs. home page as a blog. On both sites, since I have other material (besides the blog), I feel that the home page should be an information page. You mention something in the book, but I’d like to see a more in depth discussion.

  2. says

    Picked up “Create Your Own Blog” a few days ago and really enjoyed the read. I started a blog a few months back, really part time, stumbling through getting everything set up.
    Like everyone, I guess we put the time in we can and without direction, this process can be a bit frustrating and obviously takes more time. Your book really got me back into the swing of things and I feel a lot more confident about choices I have made with security and plugins, etc.

    I am still just starting out and I have a way to go, but your book definitely accelerated the process. Thanks for sharing with so much disclosure and I will definitely be back around to visit the blog as well!

    Well worth the price!

  3. Anonymous says

    I’m working through the first edition of the book and it’s great. I’m sure I’ll have future comments but what drives me a bit crazy when reading the Kindle version on my MBP is how small the figures are. There are times it would be nice to see the detail in the figure as you make your point. I have tried an external monitor but that doesn’t help. At least on my iPad I was able to expand the image but then the lack of resolution came back to bite. This isn’t something under your direct control but perhaps you can see what is possible. Reading it online through Que is a possibility but not really convenient.

  4. Mike_Higgins-Bookkeeper says

    Just finished reading Using WordPress for the 3rd time.
    I think I’ve got it fairly well understood from knowing nothing 3 months ago to where I can now feel confident with the 5 minute famous install.   I do plan to use WordPress to establish my first website that I plan to use to support my job search.  Or turn my job search into a small bookkeeping biz.  Who knows.  The way job searching is done these days compared to 30 years ago…. things have changed.  So getting the tech tools under my belt is my first order of business.  Tris Hussey’s book has been a huge help for me establishing my web plan and presence.   Your Using book has established itself as my go-to book for developing my web presence.  Thank you for writing it.

  5. Jim deJonge says

    I second jbossart’s observation that the figures were hard to read. I read the print version, and even with a magnifying glass it was difficult to see them. Other than that, your book was a good intro to WP. I’ve even set up LAMP and ftp service on a home computer to serve as a WP sandbox.

    • says

      For a second edition (one is NOT in the works any time soon, btw) we’ll work on the figures. Since this book has been so successful I think we’ll be able to have better images in the future.

  6. Jim deJonge says

    As for how deeply to delve into customizing themes: Funny, I just got done going through that section again at the computer. Everything worked well for me, except that the multi-color theme now already supports menus, so there was nothing to do. The process for adding menu support seems easy enough, though – just two lines of code.

    Delving deeper into customizing themes seems like opening up a can of worms because it would require knowing HTML/CSS/PHP.

    The paragraph about how creating a new page with no text cues WP to fill it in with blog posts was a little confusing. When I read that, I thought to myself, “Really? That seems weird… but ok. Good to know.” Makes me wonder what other WP weirdness is out there!

    I did not try installing Thematic/Street, though it was an informative read.

    Overall, I felt like the theme chapter did a good job of setting me up to explore the topic of customization further. It didn’t give me the nuts and bolts, because that would have been out of scope, but at least  now I know where the nuts and bolts are.

    • says

      Hi Jim, I’ve put off working on a 2nd ed of Using WordPress to focus on writing a book on how to create WordPress themes…so that should help you (in a few months).


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