Customer Review

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mac OS X Server Book, December 12, 2009
This review is from: Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference) (Paperback)
I've poured through several Mac OS X Server books over the years and this one is the best. Daniel Eran Dilger is an excellent writer. He takes the time to be thorough and explain in coherent detail. IMHO this quality of coherence a first for this sort of book. Example: Find a Mac OS X Server book that gives any justice to WebDAV. There aren't any, except this book. Read the information provided and you'll not only know what you're doing, you'll understand why you're doing it.

The book is full of screenshots and easy to follow procedures. It is hefty at about 950 pages. That's what it takes to adequately cover the subject. The previous 'best' book for Mac OS X Server was 'Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration' by Bartosh and Faas. 'Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference)' is bigger, better and printed on superior paper.

If you'd like to get an idea of Daniel Eran Dilger's writing style and quality, check out his work at RoughlyDrafted Magazine:


My only major complaint about this book is the bad choice of fonts. Wiley Publishing follow the current trend of using sans-serif fonts for everything. Even Amazon follows the fad. But sorry, bad idea. Long reading passages require serif fonts for ease of reading. It shall ever be thus. Sans-serif fonts look great and read lousy. Why professionals like Wiley go for appearance over readability is beyond comprehension. Check out books by Peachpit Press for comparison.

Meanwhile, one of Wiley's good ideas is their 99˘ Developer Reference app, available at the iTunes Store. With it you can purchase an electronic copy of 'Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard (Developer Reference)' at $20 for when you don't want to lug around the tree version. It has some very nice usability features.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 27, 2009 11:11:54 AM PST
Sithu Win says:
Hi, thanks for your review. I'm choosing between this book and "Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Server Essentials v10.6: A Guide to Using and Supporting Mac OS X Server v10.6". Amazon doesn't have a "Look inside" feature for this book, but it's twice as big and i'm wondering whether it would suit my needs. If you know the Apple book, could you (or anyone) provide some comments on the differences? Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2010 4:27:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2010 4:52:32 AM PST
Derek Currie says:
Hi Sithu. I have the 10.5 edition of 'Mac OS X Server Essentials' but have not yet seen or read the 10.6 edition. The 10.5 edition was by Schoun Regan and David Pugh, both very good authors. But the 10.6 edition is a total rewrite by authors Arek Dreyer and Ben Greisler, neither of whom I know.

I do know that Apple created a rewrite for the entire series of book for Apple certification training. Cynically a friend of mine commented that their point was to sell more books, seeing as there isn't all that much change from 10.5 to 10.6 Server. Theoretically Apple are also changing the certification exams. Historically the exams have not followed the accompanying books very closely, which makes the point of the books a bit dubious.

One reason 'Mac OS X Server Essentials' is smaller than Dilger's 'Snow Leopard Server' book is that it does not cover as much of the subject. Despite what Apple says ("The only Apple-certified book on Mac OS X Server v10.6"), that isn't actually the case. At this point there are a total of 4 Mac OS X 10.6 books from Apple's training series. All of them are relevant to some extent to 10.6 Server. Of particular relevance are "Mac OS X Directory Services v10.6" and "Mac OS X Deployment v10.6".

Dilger's book covers all these subjects, leading to his book's greater length. Note, however, that Dilger does not cover Mac OS X Server in as much detail as the Apple series. For certification purposes I'd stick with the Apple series, despite the spotty coordination with the certification exams. As a completest I'd get them all. But personally, as someone who has Apple's 10.5 Server series already, all I want is Dilger's book. I don't see the point in getting a whole new series of Apple training books for Snow Leopard as there simply isn't enough new technology to warrant the expense. Meanwhile, I am more likely to lug around Dilger's book with me as it is procedure oriented, which is more useful for day to day work than is Apple's more dry exam oriented training series.

Hope that helps. I'd head over to a local book store to check out the Apple 10.6 book for a better idea of how you'd like it. Ideally skim through it side by side with Dilger's book. That's what in-store coffee shops are for!
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