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WordPress and Flash 10x: Book review and Giveaway

Packt Publishing After the jQuery 1.3 and PHP, Zend Framework 1.8 and WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce book reviews and giveaways (all books from Packt Publishing), I'm reviewing another book today. This time, the book has been written by Peter Spannagle and Sarah Soward and is called WordPress and Flash 10x Cookbook.

As you might expect from reading the title, this book covers some great ways on how to combine WordPress with Flash. For me, it was a very interesting read, since I'm still pretty new to WordPress, but especially since I prefer HTML5/CSS3/jQuery above Flash. Still, I wanted to give this book a go since I really liked reading the other books from Packt.

WordPress and Flash 10x

I've read the book and wrote a review about it that you can read below. Now, you have a chance to win this 250+ pages thick book and read it yourself!

What you'll learn from this book:

  • How to make your WordPress blog or website stand out with Flash
  • Build your own .swf files using various plugins
  • Develop your own Flash audio player using audio and podcasting plugins
  • and much more!

Read the review below and make sure to check out how you can win a hardcopy version of this book. Also, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter to get updates on more future giveaways.

Table of Contents

Each chapter starts with a small introduction what will be discussed in the upcoming chapter.

  1. Preface
  2. Chapter 1: Leveraging Flash in WordPress
    1. Developing a strategy to use Flash & WordPress
    2. Embedding Flash .swf files in WordPress
    3. Adding Flash detection with SWFObject 2.x
    4. Adding Flash detection with Flash-generated JavaScript
  3. Chapter 2: WordPress: Configuration and Core Plugins
    1. Inputting content in the Visual Editor
    2. Extending the Visual Editor with plugins
    3. Inputting content via the HTML Editor
    4. Editing theme template files in the Theme Editor
    5. Configuring WP for maximum SEO
    6. Using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin
    7. Using the SEO Title Tags plug-in (Version 2.3.3)
    8. Using the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin (Version 3.2.1)
    9. Use Google Analytics in WordPress
    10. Backing up your site
  4. Chapter 3: Image Galleries and Slideshows - Using Plugins and Flash
    1. Importing your photos from Flickr: Simple Flickr plugin (Version 1.1)
    2. Using lightbox effects: WordPress Multibox plugin (Version 1.3.8)
    3. Creating effects in Flash
    4. Using Flash to create watermarks
    5. Image thumbnails, galleries, and watermarking: NextGen gallery plugin (Version 1.3.5)
    6. Building an image gallery in Flash in the timeline
    7. Building an image gallery in Flash with XML
    8. Adding slideshows: Featured Content Gallery plugin (Version 3.2.0)
    9. Building a basic slideshow in Flash in the timeline
    10. Building a slideshow in Flash with XML
  5. Chapter 4: Video Blogging + Flash Video Encoding, Skinning, and Components
    1. FLV Embed (Version 1.2.1)
    2. WebTV plugin (Version 0.6)
    3. Free WP Tube (Version 1.0)
    4. Encoding with the Adobe Media Encoder
    5. Using preset skins
    6. Using Video Component buttons to customize your skin
  6. Chapter 5: Working with Audio - Using Plugins and Flash
    1. WPAudio Player plugin (Version 1.5.2)
    2. µAudio plugin (Version 0.6.2)
    3. PodPress plugin (Version 8.8.1)
    4. Using buttons in the Common Library
    5. Adding sound effects to a button
    6. Adding sound effects to the timeline
    7. Streaming sound and coding a simple On/Off music button
    8. Designing your own stylish MP3 player
    9. Coding your own stylish MP3 player
  7. Chapter 6: Flash Applications
    1. WP-Cumulus (Version 1.22)
    2. Tagnetic Poetry plugin (Version 1.0)
    3. Flexi Quote Rotator plugin (Version 0.1.3)
    4. Creating a custom Quote Rotator using XML
    5. WP sIFR (Version 0.6.8.1)
    6. XML Google Maps plugin (Version 1.12.1)
    7. Integrating Google Maps into your Flash document
    8. Datafeedr Random Ads V2 (Version 2.0)
    9. WP Flash Feed Scroll Reader (Version 1.1.0)
  8. Chapter 7: Flash Themes
    1. CSS
    2. Template files and theme structure
    3. Template tags
    4. Customizing Kubrik
  9. Chapter 8: Flash Animations
    1. Creating a shape tween
    2. Creating a classic tween
    3. Creating a motion tween
    4. Using the Motion Editor
    5. Using motion presets
    6. Animating with the Bone tool
    7. Animating inside movie clips
    8. Creating a button
  10. Appendix A: WordPress Resources
  11. Appendix B: Flash Resources
  12. Appendix C: Shortcut Keys
    1. WordPress Visual Editor keyboard shortcuts
    2. WordPress HTML Editor keyboard shortcuts
    3. WordPress Comment Moderation keyboard shortcuts
    4. Flash keyboard shortcuts
    5. Windows keyboard shortcuts
    6. Mac keyboard shortcuts
    7. Firefox keyboard shortcuts
  13. Appendix D: Site Planning
    1. Goals
    2. SEO Planning
    3. Functional Requirements
    4. Aesthetic Requirements
    5. Site Outline

Inside the book

Flash Example

WordPress Code Example

Animation Example

Review

It's always fun to see that the books from Packt start with a tagline on the cover of the book. I was wondering if the contents of this book could live up to the tagline: Over 50 simple and incredibly effective recipes to take control of dynamic Flash content in Wordpress.

The first chapter talks about how to use Flash in combination with Wordpress. This is a key feature of the book, since this is needed to dynamically control the contents of your Flash files. The book uses SWFObject to pass on parameters to the Flash files, which is great. The rest of the chapter aims at some basic Flash techniques, which I personally skipped most of since that's nothing too new for me.

The second chapter is the other side of the coin: How to configure Wordpress correctly to make it work with Flash. A strange thing is going on in this chapter. For some reason, they discuss several Wordpress pluging that have nothing to do with Flash, like the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, Breadcrumb NavXT plugin and the SEO Title Tags plugin. I understand SEO is a great factor when building websites, but that's something that belongs in a totally different book.

After that, the next couple of chapters became more interesting, since those were the chapters that actually work with the Wordpress and Flash. It covers some basic techniques on how you could create your own Flash things (like an image gallery), but it also takes a look at some pretty nifty plugins (hence the tagline of the book). Although there are loads of little goldmines discussed, some plugins just don't look really good and could have been skipped from the book. On the other hand, even the not-so-good looking ones have great features that you might want to use on your site, so it's a good thing they included it anyway.

One thing that I noticed in this book, is the use of very big code examples that sometimes span over two pages. Although I understand that code examples should be included, I'm not a huge fan of those huge code examples. It's better to split it in several parts so the reader will understand it better. Luckily, comments have been added to make some things clear.

Another thing is that the design of the book is slightly different than the other ones from Packt. Just a small modern change to show the chapters and title, very nice.

I think the book covers another strange thing that should belong in another book. The chapter (Flash Themes) starts with an introduction about CSS. It's a very short part, so a good introduction for those with no CSS experience, but in my opinion another thing that should be covered in another book.

I loved the Flash Animations chapter! More aimed at the programmers and it allows you to create some very neat transitions. Although it isn't such a big chapter, it covers all the most interesting things you need to know for (basic) Flash animations, which is good enough.

The appendices of the book are a great addition. I especially like the Shortcut Keys appendix, that you can use as a shortcut cheat sheet.

Overall, a pretty good book that aims at some basic things, but going more advanced later on. Has loads of focus in several plugins and in the end, it's the user that makes the choice which one to use. At least you know what other things there are. If you're interested in using Flash on your site (for example for videoblogging), this is a great book.

Giveaway

Now that you know all this information about WordPress 2.9 E-Commerce, I'm pretty sure you would love to add this book to your collection. Packt Publishing has kindly decided to provide one hardcopy version of this book to one lucky Marcofolio.net Reader!

During, this contest, we'll work with tokens. The more tokens you have, the greater the chance is of winning the actual book. But how to get a token?

Simply leave a comment

Dropping some kind words in the comment field, will provide you with one token.

Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

One token will be provided to you if you tweet about this giveaway on Twitter.

Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and leave a comment linking to your Twitter update!

The combination of both will give you not 2, but three tokens.

Example: If you leave a comment like this. I tweeted about this contest here http://twitter.com/marcofolio/status/14179310681 , it'll provide you three tokens which increases the chance of winning the book. It's that simple!

Don't forget to enter a valid e-mail address, otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you've won the prize. When the contest has finished, all valid entries will be entered on Random.org. The first one that will pop-up on top of the list will be announced as winner.

So participate now and who knows you could be the lucky winner!

Rules / Notes

  • Pack Publishing is only able to send this book to the UK, or countries in the US and Europe. If you live outside these countries, you'll receive the eBook version.
  • This contests ends on May 25th.

Good luck to everyone!

Update: Contest has finished

I wanted to inform everybody that the contest has finished. I want to congratulate Mandi Whitten as the winner. Thanks everybody who participated!


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