What can I do for 30 minutes a day to improve my WordPress skills from "intermediate" to "advanced"?
Almost all the projects I work on as hobbies are now using WordPress as a platform in one way or another. I'm stumblingly familiar with the structure -- I know how themes work, the difference between index.php and page.php, etc. I've worked my way through the Small Potato "Build a Theme" tutorial.
I'm basically okay with the fundamentals of CSS. I know my way around HTML. This question
, for instance, covers stuff I've already figured out for the most part.
But every time I want to do something that's not "out of the box" functionality for WP -- which is often -- I suddenly feel totally lost. As a f'rinstance, I'm currently trying to figure out how to (a) find (b) identify and (c) display the auto-generated thumbnails for WP 2.9 so that individual category pages will have a box at the top with the thumbnails and titles for the most recent entries in OTHER categories. I get as far as using Firebug to identify the div the images are appearing in -- and then I blank in the face of a sea of PHP, core functions, and code.
I'd like to get myself up to the same level as the folks that make plugins and widgets -- or at least to a level where, if I install a widget, I can look at the widget code and understand what it does, instead of just trusting in its wizardry.
What do you recommend for somebody who is reasonably intelligent but not especially "computery," who wants to dive into the core and start really understanding how to make WordPress 2.9 work for me? Ideally something I could tackle during lunch breaks at work -- figure 30 minutes a day.