Item description for Web Development with Apache and Perl by Theo Petersen...
Written for Web developers and managers who are considering alternatives to commercial products, this guide to Apache and Perl provides information and instructions for building Web sites. Criteria for selecting an operating system and strategies for configuring a Web server are introduced, and a discussion of Open Source databases and development tools is included. Also provided are sample designs for common types of Web sites and techniques for content development and management. Topics such as security, performance, and ways to merge scripts and HTML, all using freely available software, are highlighted.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Web Development with Apache and Perl?
wonderful idea book indeed. Aug 3, 2003
i haven't finished all of the book(mainly part2 & part4), but base on my experience so far, it's a well-written book. this book gives you wonderful idea about how to write perl web applications with apache. for someone like me, whom have been using perl for 2 years (mostly are on system side), it's good to get throughout idea for doing User Authentication with session,cookie etc. btw, the code examples are easy to grasp too.
i particularly like Part 4 site managerment. it describes how to run mod_perl + apache server, with fine tunneing, server side config, load banlancing.
don't forget, mod_perl website has a lot config/coding detail too. and if you are especially interested in writing mod_perl application, i would recommend "practical mod_perl".
Not too shabby Aug 11, 2002
In a classic example of perfect timing, this book came to me at a time when I've been approached to implement a Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl solution to replace a broken, proprietary based application at a local Ivy League University. So the obvious question on my mind was, would this book be helpful or just a waste of my valuable time?
As it turns out Web Development with Apache and Perl is a sort of "glue" book that is designed to help meld what the reader already knows using things that they might not have. For some more advanced readers, much of the information in the book is mostly review, but this volume still serves as an excellent reference to the plethora of choices available to us.
Thankfully, the book doesn't even feign to be introductory, which is a very good thing. Most Perl programmers already have a sizable enough library and the last thing we need is yet another book that is half filled with the basics of the language.
That's not to say that if you are a beginner you won't be able to garner a wealth of information because the first part of the book will ease you into web site basics by presenting you with some very useful information on configuring the Apache server and giving a walk through in CGI scripting.
Be forewarned though, Theo's obvious bias towards Open Source clouds many of the pages in the first section. To his credit, he does leave the door open to the possibility that the reader might choose (or be stuck with) a commercial OS, but unfortunately he goes on to insist that the user re-evaluate their choice, and if they went with a commercial OS in their first round of evaluations that they should consider Linux or one of the BSDs.
Don't' get me wrong, Linux or one of the BSDs is the obvious best choice for a web server, but I think that prodding the reader like this is a bit insulting. And with a title like Web Development with Apache and Perl and the sub-title "How to build powerful web sites with Open Source tools", there's a 99.99% probability that he's preaching to the converted.
In the second part of the book, popular tools used for web applications are discussed including MySQL basics, DBI, SSI and HTML::Mason. It's also where you can find an excellent chapter on better ways to script using FastCGI or mod_perl. Not to mention the all-important chapter on security that covers SSL and HTTP authentication.
For the third part of the book, Theo discusses some example sites for virtual communities, intranet applications and a web storefront. Of course, he doesn't forget to mention Slash since one of the best and easiest ways to start a virtual community is to use the code that drives the ever-popular Slashdot community website.
Oh, and speaking of Slashdot, if your site happens to become anywhere near as popular, the fourth and final part of the book will help you with content and performance management.
So, if you can forgive a little soapbox preaching, you'll find Web Development with Apache and Perl is a very useful book for your web development needs. If you're fairly new to using Apache and Perl this is a must have addition to your growing library.
liked it; belongs on bookshelf Jun 5, 2002
Excellent book; few typos.
Let me explain who I am so you know where I am coming from. I am a UNIX systems administrator/Perl programmer/web developer for an insurance company. I've had more than my fair share of shizophrenic managers and project managers that would qualify as ignoramuses only on their best days. I do not suffer fools gladly, as I just don't have time to hold their hands and tell them how wonderful they are.
For Managers and Project Managers: If you are a manager or a project manager looking at web development, and you have a decent technological base, this is an excellent book. Not sure when you started feeling like you'd lost control of the technical people under you, or even if you were aware that you had. As far as I have seen, there are two shops -- technically savvy shops with no direction, and the Microsoft-loving shops with no clue and no direction. (IMO, MS products' sole benefit is to allow managers to delude themselves that that kid they hired out of a tech school for $10 an hour actually knows his --- from a hole in the ground. There are no substitutes for experience, no matter what Redmond says.)
Petersen has a very readable style -- pleasant and professional, without sounding preachy. This is important -- while I appreciate a good flame war as well as the next geek, sometimes software has to be evaluated in terms of its economic value. He also did not put me to sleep -- a rare quality in technical books.
Theo does a great job here. There are many books that will give you extremely detailed information on a single aspect of web programming. This book is more of an overview of how it should be done to get a great site that makes money and can be developed and supported on-time and on-budget.
Petersen's book covers useful technologies, gives you an idea how they are used, gives you examples of them in action, and then talks about tuning for performance. The security explanations are built in from the start, so you don't have worry about having to secure non-securable systems.
The technologies are explained well -- trust me on this. Don't feel ashamed if you skip the coding part and just read the bits around it. That's why you have technical people working for you. You just need to know what they are doing, and be able to give them direction that does not leave them wondering if you've truly lost it this time. Part of the great thing about this book is that it makes sense even if you do not understand perl.
This book will give you the ability to think about your web projects like an architect, not a bystander.
For the poor geeks who have to deal with Managers and Project Managers: Great book. It belongs on your bookshelf; not just so you know what's in it, but also so you can pass it on when you need to get someone educated FAST.
I liked it because it gave me an idea of other ways of doing things -- why should I reinvent the wheel, when someone else has already came up with a solution?
Get it. Read it. Get a copy to your boss. It gives a good idea of what web technologies can do, and gives some solid examples. It explains these technologies in terms that any person in a technical field ought to be able to understand. This book will save you endless hours of discussing *how* things work, and may get you out of a number of pointless meetings where you wind up spending valuable time explaining basic concepts to people and trying to stop them from picking impossible projects out of thin air.
With a copy of this on their desk, they will know what's possible, and have a better idea of the web development process. If you're lucky, they will read it, be able to ask intelligent questions and actually understand what you are doing and asking for. If they do not read it, you can still refer them to the appropriate sections of this book and escape out of the meeting. (it's even of a decent enough size that you can still roll it up and smack them upside of the head if they are not reading it.)
I'd like to teach a web programming course someday, and if I do, I will base it mainly on this book. With it, you will be sure to have a class of developers who actually both have a clue as to what's going on, and can actually do what is needed. After the students have read this book, they can branch out to whatever specialty they need.
A Great Guide To Web Development May 29, 2002
In the dim and distant past when I first started doing web development, there was a book that everybody had a copy of. It was called How to Set Up and Maintain a Web Site and it was by Lincoln Stein. The reason why everyone owned (and, more importantly, read) it was that it contained a complete high-level snapshot of everything you needed to know in order to run a web site at that time. Unfortunately, after a second edition in 1997 the book hasn't been updated. I suppose that the subject area has grown so much that the publishers thought that a complete overview would be too high-level to be useful. They were probably right.
I mention Stein's book because that's what this new book reminded me of most (that, by the way, is a huge compliment). Petersen realises that an overview of the whole web development area would be difficult to write (and, ultimately, unhelpful) so he restricts himself to a subset of the available technologies - Perl and Apache - and gives a thorough review of the state of the art of web development in these areas.
But before he gets into the details of Apache and Perl, in chapter 1 Petersen takes a look at the wider world of Open Source Software and in the process presents one of the best arguments I've seen in print for why a company should choose Open Source Software. In chapters 2 and 3 he takes the same approach with web servers and scripting languages, giving compelling reasons for choosing Apache and Perl.
Having chosen his architecture, in part 2, Petersen moves on to looking at some common tools for web development. Chapter 4 looks at databases. The two main Open Source Databases (MySQL and PostgreSQL) are compared and MySQL is chosen as the basis for the rest of the examples. Chapter 5 discusses the shortcomings of the standard CGI architecture and introduces mod_perl as an alternative. This is a good introduction to a technology that some people can find hard to get to grips with. Petersen takes us through the use of Apache::Registry before moving on to the complexity and power of mod_perl handlers.
Chapter 6 looks at the importance of security in web applications and discusses in some depth the problems of user authentication and the use of SSL for secure data transmission. Chapter 7 looks at ways to separate content from presentation. First we look briefly at server-side includes, but the majority of the chapter is taken up with a review of the various templating systems that are available for Perl. The chapter finishes with a detailed look at two of the most popular templating solutions - HTML::Mason and Template Toolkit.
Part 3 of the book looks at three different types of web site in great detail. In each case Petersen uses the examples to take a brief survey of a number of the existing tools. For example chapter 9 looks at a community web site and contains information about a number of web-based forums and chat rooms. It also takes an extended look at Slashcode the software that runs Slashdot. Chapter 9 takes a similar approach for intranet sites and Chapter 10 for online stores.
In part 4 we take a longer term view of a web site. Chapter 11 looks at content management systems and chapter 12 lookat at performance tuning. Both of these chapters are full of useful advice on how to make running a web server as painless as possible.
I think this is a very useful book to have on your bookshelf. Anyone who is developing web applications using Apache and Perl will find something useful in the book. It should be obvious that in order for a single book to cover so much ground, sometimes there isn't quite as much technical detail as you might like, but there is a good bibliography that will show you where to go for more information. In my opinion the high-level approach makes the book particularly useful for a couple of groups of potential readers. Firstly I think it makes a great introduction to the subject for someone coming to Apache and Perl for the first time. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly) I can see the book (in particular the first three chapters) being very useful reading material for a manager who is making a decision between using Open Source Software or some proprietary technology.