with Apache and Perl, by Theo Petersen, (Paperback, 410 pages);
Publications Co., go
to the web site
Apache Web Server and Perl
development is a multi-disciplined effort which includes software
and hardware setup. The software part can also be divided
into basic web server setup and the development of applications
running on top of the web server software. Even the basic
web server setup involves the operating system and its management.
On the other hand, web servers are usually separated from
database servers. This book focuses on the basic web server
setup without touching the operating system, but it does include
a database server discussion.
choice of web server software is limited to a few candidates,
but they can be largely divided into either the open source
or commercial choices. The author of Web Development with
Apache and Perl is a proponent of the open source choices.
The first chapter is fully dedicated to a discussion of the
reasons to select open source software and the licensing issues.
2 discusses the installation and security setup for the Apache
web server. Although it doesn't detail the steps and it doesn't
discuss the sources of the security holes announced in the
news and provides some useful guidance. Developers interested
in setting up the Apache server will find it useful to read
every word in this chapter. Chapter 6 expands the security
discussion and selects mod_ssl as the software to install
on top of Apache. It also discusses authentication, certificates
and user logins.
3 talks about the famous Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts
and Perl, provides some examples for setting up CGI and Perl
and provides the Hello Web and login web pages. Chapter 5
discusses mod_perl as a replacement for regular Perl and CGI
for better performance.
choice of database server is discussed in chapter 4. It compares
MySQL and PostgreSQL in detail and finally settles on MySQL.
This is the best discussion of this subject I have ever read.
Most other discussions either select or abandon a particular
piece of software without going into great detail.
7 discusses how Perl can be enhanced to generate dynamic HTML,
including the mod_include, mod_perl, Apache:ASP, and HTML:EmbPerl.
The author eventually settles on HTML:Mason and Template Toolkit
as his personal preference. The last paragraph touches lightly
on XML and the future.
next few chapters provides quick discussion of setting up
sample sites, including a virtual community for news, forum,
chats, an intranet server and a commerce site that provides
shopping carts, order taking, tracking, and credit card processing.
The last two chapters discuss site management in terms of
content management and performance management.
chapters 2 (web server) and 6 (security and user) are available
online for free (go to the sample chapters link on the book's
Web site - see below). Some source codes are combined into
one zip (or tar.gz) file for downloading (see below). Most
of them are on the CGI and Mason examples.
this books does a good job of selecting software for readers
out of the wide variety of open source products. For developers
who wish to jump into the Web server domain, this book focuses
on the essentials and will help fend off all the noise.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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