The Sage Book -What am I getting for my money?


I probably need “The Book” to get up to speed, without dickering about and finding the answers by trial/error and research/questions.

I certainly don’t mind paying for the book either, considering the great tools we have been provided with for no upfront cost.

In fact I feel I should support you if I do actually end up using the tools, although I have not yet made a decision if this is definitely the way I want to go.

So right now, the only concern I have, is that the book is pretty small (what’s that, 60 pages?)

I’m always willing to support development, and so far, from what I can tell, Sage is actually pretty cool.

What will disappoint me though, is if I spend 40 bucks only to discover that the content is a totally high-level overview without any kind of instructions for the configuration best practices.

I got pretty far in with another framework called Runway. Had great promise, turned out to be junk.

I’m not a total newbie, but I am also not an expert in the fields of Node, Bower, Gulp. (bit concerned about the future of Bower).

With “The Book”, what will I actually be spending money on that is not already available in the docs and on the forum?

Will the book be updated with current developments over time?


Can you please offer me a bit of reassurance?


Speaking from experience yes the book is updated as I’ve been sent the updates.

I put off buying the book for ages just as I had to put in payment information (typical web story) and the book was a great read. Answered many thoughts and problems I’d had but not only that but it went into great details about theme development in general. I learned a load about best practices from this (as someone who’s mainly been a backend programmer moving into the Wordpress full stack world)

Spurred me into reading “The Pragmatic Programmer” as well which has, with no underestimation, changed my life.

In short, buy the book!


Thanks @buswell,

I’m kind of there :feet: … I’d love the author to put a few words in too (and to hear a couple of other opinions would also be very nice :beers:

Did you read the testimonials for it?

Yes I did, thanks @kalenjohnson

Testimonials are usually something that are put up because they are glowing.

Regardless I’ll probably just buy the book. Sage seems to “gel” with my way of thinking, compared to quite a few other frameworks I have tried.

I would love to hear from the author anyway, that would be great.

IMHO: a very well spend $39,-

Thanks @TiborP, nice to hear although your comment doesn’t offer much insight, and wouldn’t have helped convince me to purchase it if I hadn’t already done so :wink:

I’m reading it now, and I agree, it seems to offer a lot more insight than is easily available elsewhere.

A note to the Author (and other Roots devs), I feel there is a tiny lack of openness regarding your business model.

What I mean, is that traditionally you will buy a theme, or buy a framework etc, and pay for the licence etc.

Roots has this tremendous arsenal of tools, and they are essentially “free” to download and use.

Fantastic, and as I begin to play around with it all, I am really quite gobsmacked. It is amazing!

However, if you were a little bit less cagey about why the “book” costs so much, and why the documentation is really pretty sparse, I would probably have found the decision to spend 40 bucks on a 60 page document a bit easier.

Just spell it out more openly please. Sage is free to download and test, but if you really want to use it, you must buy the book (unless you are already a very experienced developer).

Now that I’m reading it, yeah, its the “missing manual”!

Anyway, that’s just feedback, getting into it now and I like it very much, please consider the question answered.

Sorry, I have to take exception to this. If there are holes in the documentation, then obviously we want to fix those up, but documentation is just that - it’s generally just instructions on how to get things working.

And cagey? I don’t think anyone was withholding information from you - it’s very clear what’s in the book. But, it’s a book… of course it’s going to explain things more in depth than documentation does. I would also say it’s priced rather similarly to other self-published development books at places like

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It’s ok. Sorry If I offended you.

My comments were not intended as a personal criticism to anyone.

I think Roots would benefit if the marketing of the “book” was done in such a way as to help newcomers understand that in order to get going faster, it is almost a requirement.

By “cagey”, I just meant a bit “shy” in the detail.

I’m getting into it now, would have been easier to get going faster if I’d read the detailed docs in advance (i.e the book).

I have learnt a lot from the forum, and very much appreciate the responses, and I also have tremendous respect for the brains behind the concept.


FWIW I did not find the book helpful with getting statrted with Sage, and am regretting the $40 price tag. Some basic things like what to expect from the build process and what set of artifacts are produced make it so that you have to fumble around quite a bit to figure out how the ‘getting started’ instructions can actually get you started past installing npm, gulp, bower and Sage itself. If you want to get your vanilla starter theme actually deployed on Wordpress you’re going to have to hunt around, even if you are familliar with npm, bower, gulp, PHP and Wordpress itself.

To be fair, maybe going in whole hog and buying into Bedrock and Trellis make this easier, but then you’re into 3 different frameworks instead of the one starter theme you were hoping for. Maybe Sage is awesome but at this point I can’t yet tell.

Thanks @muhr,

I didn’t actually have much trouble with getting the basic theme up and running, although there were a few small glitches with regards to the version of Node itself, and the forum here was very helpful with that.

That was before I purchased the book.

I’m not all that impressed with the book, but without it I would still be wading around without a clue.

It is the granular detail which is a bit sparse, I feel.

Before I get lambasted for being critical, this is not a directed/personal criticism aimed at the developers of Roots.

It is really quite amazing, but I think we can probably all agree that Sage et al is most definitely not a beginners tool.

On one hand, it is forcing me to learn stuff that I might never have even tried, but for $40 I think there could be a few more examples, and a little bit more guidance (without having to hunt for it in the forum, or look it up in other places).

I’m very happy to support good development, but it is still a bit of a leap of faith to spend money on something that is only documented at such a high level. And it is sparse! I have used other themes and frameworks that go into a lot more detail.

I also hope that my own criticism will simply be food for thought, and be taken as an open opinion.

I’m no troll

If I manage to really get going with Sage, I also hope I will be able to give something more back by helping spread the word, and to assist people here on the forum once I have a bit more Roots experience.

So this is something we’ve gone back and forth on. Since Roots projects incorporate a lot of 3rd party code and dependencies (as is the norm for modern web development), is it Sage documentation itself, or is it unfamiliarity with the 3rd party tools?

I’m not trying to be antagonistic, I would genuinely like to know. I feel like Roots documentation is to the point, while not covering every edge case. One of the big pain points of using Sage has been the Node dependency for quite a while. However, it’s a 3rd party tool that Sage simply utilizes. And there is no shortage of discussion for the myriad of issues that has been associated with Node over the years on other sites like Stack Overflow.

We all appreciate that! One of the greatest things to see is when users answer other users questions on Discourse.

I’ve said it before, but if you feel like something in the documentation is lacking, please let us know. But we do need specifics. Which page of the documentation is lacking? Is it an edge case or is there something fundamentally wrong with it? All of the documentation is now on Github, if you think you can fix something, make a PR. Just be aware that if the developers of Roots feel it’s getting off topic or is covered better on other parts of the internet, it will be edited or even linked off to the correct source.

Thanks for the feedback. I’m not sure what you mean by artifacts, are you referring to the files that are generated from the build process? The compiled CSS and JS files?

What is it that you were hoping to read about? Since the gulp file is actually utilizing @austin 's asset builder (which has it’s own documentation and a link to it from the Sage docs), which covers quite a few examples of how to edit and update your own asset pipeline, what else was missing?

@kalenjohnson thanks for the reply (Friday night dude!)

Some of it is no doubt also just new starter frustrations/growing pains, something we all have to go through from time to time.

There is little point in us going back and forth, as you mentioned, and I will compose a thoughtful and comprehensive reply as soon as I can wrap my head around enough of the basics to make the response worthwhile, and to try and add something genuinely useful to the discourse.