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Pro Apache (Expert's Voice) Paperback – February 28, 2005
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There are better books that deal with some of the specific areas of this text (for example, Hardening Apache is much more thorough on the subject of securing your server) but you won't find a more comprehensive text in a single volume than this one. Pro Apache, Third Edition is highly recommended and my first choice for anyone looking for a single book to learn how to setup and configure an Apache server or serve as their primary reference.
This is, nevertheless, an indespensible resource to have, especially if you find yourself having to revisit, support, and/or migrate a legacy Apache installation or need/want to understand the evolution of Apache itself.
Throughout the text, the author gives the reader a lot of great tips/best practices which regardless of the technologies which will change, can be adopted as best practice (for example, his advice on managing config files and include directives).
Although unlikely, in an ideal world, it would be great to have an updated edition of this book as I feel it is one of the more comprehensive Apache books out there. Indeed, at 900+ pages, it almost feels like it could be THE Apache Bible or Definitive Guide.
Some fairly informative chapters contain introduction to common configuration, authentication, configuring SSL, using WebDAV and subversion.
But lot of space in the book is wasted on topics that were cool in the last century like compiling apache and compiling single modules, but not relevant anymore. Today you are likely not going to recompile you server every week, but you SHOULD install security patches every week, if you take your job seriously. IMHO there is only one possibility - to rely on the services of your linux distribution.
By the way, Debian and derived distributions also do a great job combating the mess in the httpd.conf by meaningfully dividing it in multiple configuration files, so you have a good place to put your specific settings making an automated upgrade to the newer apache version easy. So do not listen to the author, never edit your httpd.conf. ;-)
The author describes in detail topics, that are not relevant anymore in the web application development (assumed that you are creating an application, that goes besides "hello world"). Delivering dynamic content (chapter 6) used to be server-side includes and cgi but it is NOT anymore because of poor programming model and poor performance.
Typical scenario nowadays is to use apache as a front end web server, letting apache serve the static content like pictures and providing a wrapper or proxy to a high performance application server (for example mongrel if you using rails) or using mod_python for python or using zope etc. In this context I would wish elaborative description on mod_rewrite, that is pretty complicated.
My conclusion: if you are beginner, search for a better introductory book. If you are advanced developer/admin/hacker, then use primary resources like [....]
O'Reilly books are definitely well written; however, I find myself ALWAYS going to this book first, even though it was published in 2004. The Apache Directives, topics, and examples covered are timeless. It puts side-by-side code base 1.3 and 2.0, with strength of focus on the 2.0 code base. If you use the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) online documentation along with this book, then you will be able to perform in the workplace. Nearly everything covered in this book is relevant today and even translates to the 2.2 code base.
I can't wait for the next revision to cover the 2.2 code base in depth. Unfortunately, publications can't keep up with ASF releases and the new and re-factored modules. It takes about two years for a solid book to be put into circulation after ASF makes a major release available.
Well done Peter!