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Writing Apache Modules with Perl and C: The Apache API and mod_perl Paperback – April 11, 1999
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It's quickly apparent that Lincoln Stein and Doug MacEachern spent valuable time writing this book considering the breadth of their subject and the depth they devote to it. The only downside to the book is that it's kind of hard to explain all of the API functionality without assuming a minimum level of competence from the audience. For that reason, this book might be a bit intimidating to novice programmers, but it really rewards you if you put time into it and tinker with things.
The book also works well as a source of ideas and inspiration for when you have to write your own server modules, and I'd recommend it if you want to customize your Apache server or speed up your Perl CGI programs. --Doug Beaver
About the Author
Doug MacEachern has been addicted to Perl and web servers since early 1994 when he was introduced to Plexus as a student employee at the University of Arizona. Soon after returning to his home town of Boston, Massachusetts, and entering the "real world," he discovered the Apache web server, and since early 1996, he has been gluing Perl into all its nooks and crannies. His day job has consisted of integrating various other technologies with the Web, including DCE, Kerberos, and GSSAPI, but Perl has been the only one he cannot let go of. Doug has continued as a developer disguised as a consultant since the start of 1998, spending most of his time between Auckland, New Zealand, and San Francisco, California, with time at home in Boston during the warmer months. Doug likes to spend his time away from software--far, far away, sailing on the ocean, diving below it, or simply looking at it from a warm, sandy beach where technology doesn't go much beyond thatched huts and blenders.
Lincoln Stein is an assistant investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he develops databases and user interfaces for the Human Genome Project using the Apache server and its module API. He is the author of several books about programming for the Web, including The Official Guide to CGI.pm, How to Set Up and Maintain a Web Site, and Web Security: A Step-by-Step Reference Guide.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first part of that truism can perhaps be said of Web Wizards and Apache modules. Fortunately Apache modules are a little easier to write than Sendmail configurations and this book makes it easier still.
Let's not mince words. Perl scripts and other CGI software can quickly become performance bottlenecks on any server, no matter the size of your hardware. The most powerful way of fixing this is to fold a fair amount of that programming inside the server where the overhead of loading interpreters, libraries and code is already taken care of, not to mention you find yourself with much more power and control over the dialogue between server and browser.
Unfortunately writing to an API as large and complex as that in Apache is not always easy. MacEachern and Stein go to a great deal of trouble and exert a fair degree of skill in breaking the learning down into manageable chunks and explaining it all with a large number of examples.
This was the first book I read that really made me understand the process going on, both between the two pieces of software and inside Apache, when a page is requested. From there the book goes on to give you a marvellous understanding of how to write a module in Perl that fits into that process. Finally the last three chapters are excellent API reference guides, one on the Perl API and two on the C API, and an excellent index (which indexes every function in the API's as well as key concepts) make this a superb tool when you get down to writing.Read more ›
It reduces days of surfing PODS (perl docs), man-pages (unix docs), and online Apache online references into a nice little kitty. But it¹s not a simple typographical candying/laser-printing of your online docs--the author gives thorough treatment to important GOALS one would want to achieve with the Apache and Apache+Perl facilities--the facilities are elegant, but the sample code and explanations are definitely clear too.
Even the reference section (Chapter 9-11) to Apache library are infested with snippets that improve code comprehension. I felt comfortable tackling the logic of third party Apache modules (in c) and Perl+Apache modules (in perl) after my first run through the book.
The authors made sure you¹ll feel equally comfortable in c when tackling the Apache API, I¹m really happy about this, because some sites require programming in c to maximize server availability when the number of concurrent clients are too high for normal perl or java solutions, and other situations. Since the authors worked with the core server as well as Apache API closely in the effort to bring Perl and Apache together, I can see their enthusiasm in their explanation of c side of the API--which is what they use when improving the GNU mod_perl project--this helps to make this reference far far from being another dry treatment of a programming interface.
While advanced CGI writers can learn all they need about Apache modules, I found it really soft and patient with newbies too.Read more ›
Its very straight forward, focuses only on things that are related to writing modules in both Perl and C, and has very useful functions index, you can look up a function or a constant, the book explains all methods and gives examples on how to use tricky ones...
I mostly use it for my C modules, and found very easy example of parsing ARGs of query strings, which is to my surprise not in apache lib...
I am impressed.
When we do begin the writing of a module, it isn't a basic, stand-alone module, but a module to add footers to other content. So, the text digresses into a long and technical discussion of the various ways to configure Apache and associate MIME types so that this module will work with documents that we might or might not have on hand (It's just assumed that you have these laying around handy). During this discussion, we get bounced off of other Apache::xyz modules that apparently popped into the author's head in a moment of "As long as we're at it, why don't we throw this in too" inspiration. Wonderful information ... presented at the wrong time.
To give an example: A logical place to start learning Oracle SQL (or any other SQL) would be with the SELECT statement. However, the authors of this book would begin with a detailed discussion of PL/SQL exception handling, a listing of most of the built-in PL/SQL exceptions, and a listing of a number of the built-in Oracle packages. (Recall we were just starting with SQL. But what the heck! PL/SQL is cool, so why not talk about it now? We're going to use it eventually anyway.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Helpful for getting your head around the principles of Apache modules, but for modern API reference, see Apache's online docs.Published on January 23, 2007 by William Baker
While this book is a bit outdated and technology has greatly changed since this text was released in 1999, this is still a solid reference for anyone that works with Apache and... Read morePublished on September 20, 2006 by Dan McKinnon
I bought this book awhile ago USED here on Amazon (for $2.00!), and it was worth every penny!
Although this book is old, it has some useful reference material that can... Read more
Not much there for C, although it's not too difficult to make use of the Perl topics and covert them to C, it's more geared towards Perl (much more). That's too bad. Read morePublished on May 10, 2003 by Tim Greer
It's all in Perl. The book says "Apache Modules with Perl and C" but really, it's all in Perl. Read morePublished on March 1, 2003
_Writing Apache Modules_ (WAM) is a high quality work, even amongst other O'Reilly books. Few/no typos and articulate writing, very usable index and good content organization,... Read morePublished on December 19, 2002 by Steven Haryanto
Writing Apache Modules is a rather arcane specialty; with so many excellent free modules already available, most people can find more than the need with some simple... Read morePublished on May 22, 2001 by _Mark_
This book is a pleasure to read. It provides information on web development on the Apache/Perl platform in a very accessible and entertaining form without being dumbed down. Read morePublished on March 25, 2001 by Cliente de Amazon