Pro Apache 3rd Edition By: Peter Wainwright Published by Apress
As a somewhat experienced Apache user, I definitely have to say that this is by far the best "know all, end all" reference, bar none. Whether you are a seasoned webserver guru, or just a weekend warrior looking for some installation and configuration information, "Pro Apache 3rd Edition" is definitely the book for you.
By : nawlej
The book starts off in chapter 1 by giving an in-depth look of the anatomy of a webserver. I can see how the average person would skip right over this chapter because it covers a lot of background information. Normally I would have moved on, but I got my start in networking, so I was curious as to how it measured up. What really impressed me was the attention given to networking concepts that are otherwise transparent to the average server admin, such as the TCP/IP model, MTU's, well known ports, encapsulation and many other things that would not normally be seen in a "software" book. Special attention to hardware and software platform requirements was also addressed, as well as what you might want to do as an alternative, if you decide hosting and maintaining your own webserver is not for you. Maybe it's the "Networking Brat" in me, but I think the book gives a good, solid foundation for something great.
The following chapters cover everything you wanted to know, and in my case, were afraid to ask about Apache (versions 1.3 and 2.0, might I add). The author emphasizes that while binaries are distributed widely for precompiled Apache, it is always a good idea to compile your own copy from source, to give you the control that you might not benefit from with a binary distribution. I also enjoyed seeing a section on building your own binary distribution, which is helpful, if you would like to keep multiple servers with seamless builds. Almost every configuration scenario possible is explored as well. From basic to very advanced configurations, it's covered. There is even discussion of how to build your own third party modules using the exceptional apxs utility. It was also refreshing to see such a knowledgeable reference to the almost new and improved version 2.0 build. Explaining the differences in the two releases, and even going into how to migrate from a 1.3 to a 2.0 installation was helpful. Without this reference, I would have had a lot of bad days at the office.
Going truly above and beyond the call of duty, in great detail, performance and security topics are discussed and demonstrated in a comprehensive, easy to understand manner. What do you do once you've unleashed the beast? Make it better! (And, well, make sure it doesn't get the better of you.) In these sections you learn to control performance enhancements such as MPM threading, which is brand new to the Apache 2.0 release, as well as benchmarking and making your installation more efficient. Great time is spent on covering how to analyze logs, interpret errors, and many other audit features within Apache. I was also impressed with the exceptional detail to the topic of security, basically covering how to keep what you want in and what you don't want out by employing features such as authentication and secure socket layer technology.
Saving the best part for last, the book goes into how to extend the features of your webserver with add-on's like WebDAV, ISAPI, Java, and of course, my favorites: Perl and PHP. For the first time, I enjoyed configuring these modules, rather than pulling my hair out because of a lack of answers. This book was definitely helpful when I upgraded from mod_perl to mod_perl2, which, as some of you may know, are totally different. I was even able to seamlessly install Tomcat, which is a standalone Java servlet container also produced by the Apache group under the Jakarta project. The author spares no expense to give you the necessary background and ample, simple to follow instructions in order for you to get it set up the way you want to, and get done in time for tea. It was nice for a change to understand why I am installing something or configuring something a certain way, rather than just doing it because that's the way I was told.
The only "con" I can find for this book is that I didn't obtain it sooner. Even in the short time I have had it, my webserver administration tasks have definitely been made easier thanks to this reference. Every Apache administrator should own one. It is definitely well worth the expense and then some. If you don't have room left on your bookshelf, make room. My hat goes off to Peter Wainwright and Apress for opening up a whole new world to me, one that I would have never attempted before due to sheer horror of what I thought was an impassable mountain.
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