A key aspect of Apache is its modularity. Webmasters are free to custom-build Apache installations that precisely fit their needs by compiling only the software modules they want. The authors do a good job of exploring these possibilities but still manage to present the material in an organized, topical manner. They take a little time along the way to delve into some key related technologies such as Common Gateway Interface (CGI), cookies, Perl, and Personal Home Page (PHP)--a very popular server-side scripting language frequently used to add the smarts to Apache applications.
The chapters are all rather bite-size, making this book easy to digest for those with scattered chunks of reading time. To get the most from Apache, a solid understanding of C programming is a must. Even so, this book offers much for the nonprogrammer interested in learning about Apache. Included is a CD-ROM containing the source code for the Apache 1.3.9 release, as well as several third-party utilities like Comanche--a key administration tool. If you have experience with commercial Web servers and are curious what all the fuss is about with Apache, this title offers a well-rounded look at the hottest Web server around. --Stephen W. Plain
Topics covered: Installation, server configuration files, configuration with Comanche, MIME types, proxy and cache server use, CGI programming, server-side includes, cookie implementation, security and auditing, authentication, logging, Apache modules, Perl module, PHP module, and Apache API.