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Building Scalable Web Sites: Building, Scaling, and Optimizing the Next Generation of Web Applications 1st Edition
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More About the Author
Originally from England, Cal is the VP of Engineering for Tiny Speck. Until recently he worked at Yahoo! Inc, as the Director of Engineering for Flickr, in San Francisco, California. He worked on Flickr from the day it started development (on his laptop) until April 2009 (when it was the "Official website of the Internet").
Before Flickr, he was the technical director of Special Web Projects at Emap, a UK media company. By night he works for a whole slew of web sites and communities, including the creative community B3TA and his personal site, iamcal. In his spare time, he writes windows software, develops web publishing tools, and writes occasional articles about web application development and security.
He promises he's working on a second edition of Building Scalable Websites.
Top Customer Reviews
Cal Henderson has a wide background in the area and is lead developer for Flickr, the photo sharing site that has gained deserved popularity and is often mentioned as the quintessential Web 2.0 application.
The author does an excellent job of spreading out before you the whole process at a high enough level so the book can be valuable for managers, designers, and all sorts of people involved in putting out the final product.
His focus is on program design and design implementation issues, not programming as such. Code is not neglected. Many points regarding design implementation are made with code examples and solutions.
I find this book so personally valuable in grounding me in a complex process, I give it the highest Amazon rating even though I found aspects of the book's organization to be completely incomprehensible. This is a book about scalable Web sites and applications but the author does not define scalability nor does he deal with the broad Web issues (like the scaling myth) until 60% into the book! Chapter 9, titled "Scaling Web Applications" should have been much closer to the beginning since it was a high-level view with no code, as the other chapters.Read more ›
I give it 2 stars not because it is a bad book but because I was tricked into thinking it was going to be useful as a scalable website builder. What you should do is look at the table of contents and research those topics and not bother reading this book.
The book is more of an overview of the topics you need to consider when building scalable web sites. For example, if you are building a scalable website and the powers that be put someone who knows nothing about web sites in charge of managing you, this really is the perfect book to give to your new manager. Your new manager will get a clue, but your new manager won't know a thing about HOW to build anything, but will know ABOUT what is being built.
The thing that got me is the first 188 pages of the book, just doesn't seem all that useful. On page 1 there is a definition of "What Is a Web Application", I'd estimate a book like this should assume you know what it is (it even suggests you do know what it is), but probably should save space and not even bother writing about it.
Some sections and my summaries:
Layered Software Architecture - could summarize into: DB layer, app code, html, css on top
Layered Technologies - get appropriate book on actual topic such as DB book, and use a template language
Getting from A to B - separate program from markup, use a template system
Hardware Platforms - dedicated, co-located, self hosting, space/power consumption, networking
It took 26 pages to get through all of that.Read more ›
This book does a tremendous job identifying many of these best practices, identifies how to easily implement them--in almost any situation, and discusses application scaling techniques. As the book mentions, scalability is made up of three characteristics:
* The application can accommodate an increase in users
* The application can accommodate an increase in data
* The application is maintainable
Like any good book on application scalability, this one begins discussing the tiered architecture that is common in so many modern applications, and is a fundamental step in creating any truly scalable application. This follows into a discussion on source control--another fundamental part of keeping the application maintainable.
The author briefly discusses security issues by touching on cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and the like. The discussion is well written and thorough for the amount of time spent on the topic.
Finally, the author discusses many of the issues related to deployment of web applications, including system monitoring and alerting. There is also an excellent section on load balancing, techniques to keep databases scalable, and caching.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After reading some of the negative reviews, I felt I needed to weigh in and agree with others who said this was an excellent *introduction* well-suited for those new to scalability... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Daniel
I loved this book. I think it's a must read. It introduces you to the major problems that you will face when scaling an application backend.Published 23 months ago by MS
The book is rather old, but it is still great for those who want understand the topic from scratch. RecommendedPublished on December 12, 2013 by Kourakob Aleksey
I was looking forward to reading very specific info but it turned out that the book is very general. Read morePublished on August 29, 2013 by Alex
Cal Henderson writes what many call the definitive book on scaling websites... but unfortunately that's all it is, a book. Read morePublished on December 3, 2012 by J. Bourne
This book should have been titled "Introduction To Building Web Sites in 2006". Only two chapters (8,9) have *any* relevance to scaling, and the tools they discuss are five years... Read morePublished on November 14, 2011 by Gustav Bertram
When I purchased this book I was looking for a resource that would give me some insights into architecting web applications, from the software side. Read morePublished on February 10, 2010 by Sardonicus