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VNU Net: Apache Server Commentary [Book Review]

Apr 21, 2000, 08:21 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Newman)

By Sam Newman, VNU Net

This is one in a series of books which sets out to give an insight into the various Open Source products currently on the market. It is aimed at those who either want to write extension modules to Apache or customise the underlying code.

But despite its noble intentions, the book doesn't get off to a very good start. It opens with 400 pages of source code - hence the title's large-width format - but, given that this code is also provided on the CD, it does seem like a waste of paper. Even worse is the fact that little of the promised commentary is actually lavished on the code itself.

The book only starts to deliver on its promise in Part II, which comprises an overview of the various sections of Apache. Unforunately, this isn't presented in a logical fashion: for example, there's no top-level overview to show how the various modules fit together, and flow diagrams are few and far between.

In fact, Apache Server Commentary appears to be little more than a reference guide for those who already understand the concept of Apache and just want help on specific modules. It certainly isn't the architectural document I was expecting.

While I'm sure there's a need for such a book, the target audience would have been better served by something more condensed. Once opened, this hulking behemoth takes up more desk real estate than my monitor and keyboard put together.

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