Is WooCommerce Development worth learning in 2021?
I would say the answer to this question is a definite yes. As sales of online goods keep increasing this is definitely a good time to launch a WooCommerce store or to start thinking about learning to code WooCommerce in order to boost your skill set, but what are the best books to aid you in your WooCommerce learning efforts?
In this article we’ll take a look at the best books on the market.
The Best WooCommerce Book for Programmers
This is a little awkward, but I genuinely believe that the best book for learning about WooCommerce development currently on the market is “Learning WooCommerce Development by Example” which I wrote.
I wrote the book because I couldn’t find a suitable book when I started learning WooCommerce development so I had to piece together my knowledge using blogs and tutorials from all over the internet.
The book takes you through
- Learning how to use actions and filters
- Setting up a WooCommerce specific development environment
- How to create WooCommerce themes and plugins
- The very basics of what you need to know to start developing, such as how to work with the cart etc
- Some common development tasks, such as adding custom fields to products and altering the checkout process
I would also recommend
The WooCommerce Cookbook – Another great WooCommerce book for developers written in a cook book format
WooCommerce Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to WooCommerce – This book is light on code samples, but it’s an excellent choice if you want a good overview of how to set-up and use WooCommerce
These books are discussed in more detail below in the “Our Favourite WooCommerce Books” section.
Should I buy a WooCommerce Book or a WordPress book?
This is a good question. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and will only run on top of WordPress so there is a lot of crossover between the two platforms.
I would say that to have a good understanding of WooCommerce you would need to have a fairly good grasp of the following concepts
- Child Themes
- WordPress and how it works as a content publishing platform
- Taxonomies such as categories an tags
- My SQL
None of the things listed above are WooCommerce specific, they would all apply to WordPress as well, so if you’re aiming to learn WooCommerce and you have no prior experience of WordPress then I would definitely recommend getting a WordPress book (or two) to help you understand the platform that WooCommerce is built on.
We’ll go through some recommendations for WordPress books later in this article.
If you feel you have a good enough understanding of WordPress and are just looking to improve your WooCommerce knowledge then I would say you need to learn about the following topics
- The different product types WooCommerce provides
- How variable products work in WooCommerce
- How taxes work in WooCommerce
- How shipping works in WooCommerce
- How WooCommerce deals with users
- How the cart functionality works
- How the checkout functionality works
- How attributes work
- How WooCommerce stores it’s data
None of these topics are likely to be covered in a WordPress book so it won’t be possible to learn everything you need to know with just a WordPress book, you’re going to need to do some specific WooCommerce learning as well.
Just to recap, the heading of the section was “Should I buy a WooCommerce book or a WordPress book?” and I think the answer to that question is both, in the next sections we’ll take a look at the best WordPress and WooCommerce books on the market.
Our Favourite WooCommerce Books
From the list in the previous section you should have a reasonably good idea of what you need to learn in order to be a good WooCommerce developer.
A a WooCommerce developer you will likely have to solve problems such as
- How can I list all the variants for a product on a single page?
- Is it possible to remove shipping from a specific product in my store?
To answer either of these questions you’re going to have to have two levels of knowledge.
Firstly, you will need to how things such as variable products and shipping are set up in a WooCommerce store. As a developer, if you don’t know the ins and outs of how WooCommerce is set up then it will be hard to answer questions and know where the WooCommerce functionality stops and your code should start.
Secondly, you will need knowledge of how WooCommerce code works, if you have identified a gap in WooCommerce functionality that you can fix with code then you will need the knowledge of how to code a solution.
We’ll consider these two levels of knowledge in our book recommendations
WooCommerce Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to WooCommerce
If you’re coming to WooCommerce development with very little prior knowledge of the WooCommerce plugin then we would recommend “WooCommerce Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to WooCommerce” as the best book to bring you up to speed.
The book goes through all the main areas you will need to learn about, including product types, shipping and taxes.
If you feel your WooCommerce knowledge is lacking we would recommend setting up a sample store and going through this book, you’ll really start to feel that you are getting to grips with the platform.
The book is not really a coding book though, so we wouldn’t recommend it as strongly if you already have a good understanding of how WooCommerce works and are just looking to improve your coding chops. If you are looking for more of a code based book, then we would recommend one of the other two books listed below.
Learning WooCommerce Development by Example
“Learning WooCommerce Development by Example” is more focussed on code than set-up, so it wouldn’t be the ideal book if you wanted to learn how to set up your first WooCommerce store.
Having said that, the book does have chapters that take you through variable products and attributes it also goes through how to set-up a development environment so you’re not thrown in at the deep end code wise.
The book starts by going through the basics you’ll need to know to start WooCommerce development, it then moves on to a number of code examples that walk you through making modifications to a WooCommerce store.
Each chapter in the book deals with a different modification, the book walks you through each of the code samples used so you should get a good idea of how the code works.
As a very large disclaimer I should mention that I wrote this book, but I do honestly believe that it’s worth a look if you want to learn about WooCommerce development.
The “WooCommerce Cookbook” could be described as a mixture of the first two books, as it goes into detail about how to set-up a WooCommerce store but also touches on development details such as theming, actions and filters.
We would say the the “WooCommerce Cookbook” doesn’t go as deeply into code as “Learning WooCommerce Development by Example” but it is still an excellent primer into WooCommerce development. The book was published in 2015.
So there we have it, our 3 favourite WooCommerce books, which one you plump for is mostly down to where you think you are on your learning journey. We would recommend “WooCommerce Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to WooCommerce” if you have know WooCommerce knowledge at all and then one of the two coding books, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend against buying all three books 🙂
Our Favourite WordPress books
As we mentioned earlier, if you have no prior knowledge of WordPress and you want to start WooCommerce development we would recommend buying a WordPress book to give you a good grounding in things like themes, plugins, taxonomy and the loop. Understanding these concepts will really help you to understand how WooCommerce works.
Both of the WooCommerce development books that we recommended in the last section assume that you have some prior knowledge of WordPress development.
Her are our favorite WordPress books for WooCommerce developers.
Professional WordPress: Design and Development
If you’re a developer who’s completely new to WordPress then “Professional WordPress: Design and Development” is an excellent starting point in your learning journey, the book begins by giving a good overview of WordPress and then in the following chapters it goes through the WordPress codebase.
The book covers both themes and plugins and also goes through concepts such as the loop, taxonomies and multisite, all of which will be very useful to someone who is new to the WordPress platform.
Professional WordPress Plugin Development
Written by the same team as “Professional WordPress: Design and Development” “Professional WordPress Plugin Development”, focuses more on plugins, so it gives less of an overview of WordPress than the design and development book but drills down into topics that you will find useful as you become a more experienced WooCommerce/WordPress developer.
The book covers advanced topics such as internationalization, the Rest API and Multisite set-ups. It also covers extending the new Gutenberg functionality although that section is reasonably brief.
If you were looking to deepen your understanding of the WordPress as a developer, we would certainly recommend this book.
WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook
Although this is another plugin book I thought I’d recommend a book that wasn’t written by the same people as the first two, so you have the option of a different perspective on WordPress development 🙂
This book follows a cookbook format so it’s similar in style to the “Learning WooCommerce Development by Example” and “WooCommerce Cookbook” books that were recommended in the previous section.