Learning to Customize WordPress

Part of my migration to WordPress has involved figuring out how to customize it in a reasonable way. I wanted to move off of a static site generator in part to get away from the sense that I was constantly tweaking the site tool instead of writing, but I do have a few relatively small things that the default WordPress templates don’t support. For the most part the default themes are fine, but besides the usual colors and images I want to customize a few things about the page layout, especially the metadata. For example, I use Feedburner to wrap my feeds and I have a couple of other aspects of the layout I wanted to customize, such as adding CSS support for pygments output.

I learned that it’s possible to create “child themes,” so that I can safely install security updates without worrying about losing my changes, so now my theme is based on the twentyfifteen theme that comes with the default installation. I’ve found a few references that helped set up the Google analytics script and today to override the RSS feed links, so that takes care of my 2 big items.

Aside from having to learn a little php, I’m also figuring out the event-based system for triggering hooks and and for taking advantage of existing WordPress features. I’m still in the cargo-culting mode of customization, and I want to take it further, so I’m still looking for tutorial material that will help me understand how things really work. I would especially like something I can read offline in book form, even if it’s an e-book. Suggestions welcome in the comments!