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HTTP: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1565925090
ISBN-10: 1565925092
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Editorial Reviews


"I think this book is an extremely useful, very comprehensive and clearly-written reference to all aspects of the internals of the Web going well beyond just the bare mechanics of HTTP. Even where its huge detail does stop on a topic, there are extensive and useful references for further reading on each topic covered given at the end of nearly every chapter." - John Collins, News@UK, March 2003

About the Author

is the Chief Technology Officer of Endeca, where he leads the research and development of Endeca's knowledge navigation products. Prior to working at Endeca, David designed and developed core components of Inktomi's Internet-scale search database and was a senior developer of Inktomi's web caching products. David earned a B.A.in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

was a member of Inktomi Corporation's founding engineering team, and served as Inktomi's Vice President of R&D where he co-developed Inktomi's search engine database, and led the development of Inktomi's web caching and streaming media technologies. Formerly, he was a scientist at Silicon Graphics and at Apple Computer's Advanced Technology Group. Brian Totty has received several awards for research and teaching excellence, and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a B.S. in Computer Science from M.I.T.

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Product Details

  • Series: Definitive Guides
  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565925092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565925090
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is more than just an HTTP reference. In fact the name of the book may even be a bit misleading. While it does an excellent job of describing the "what", "why", and "how" of HTTP, it goes a great deal further by describing how the various technologies that interact with HTTP work. And since HTTP is the very foundation of the Web, this book ends up being a great guide to the guts of all of WWW.
If you ever had a question about how a certain piece of Internet technology works, there is a good chance you will find it described in this book. From various types of Internet gateways, servers, and proxies, to security, content publishing & distribution, and HTTP related performance issues.
The topics are dealt in an insightful, practical way - full of useful examples, and "tricks of the trade". The writing style is very engaging, and accessible even to non-technical readers. Authors' knowledge and passion for the subject matter shows through. I have had the good fortune of working with the authors, and I can't think of a more qualified bunch of people to write this book.
Size of the book appears a bit daunting first, but you don't need to read it cover to cover. Just pick your topic of interest, or keep the book as a reference. I have been closely involved with developing HTTP related high performance Internet servers/gateways/proxies for six years, and I haven't seen a better book on the topic.
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By A Customer on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had never thought of HTTP in such a broad scale before I read "HTTP::The Definitive Guide". Apparently, Web sites and Web browsers are not the only things that should come to mind when one thinks of HTTP. Flexibility of the protocol made it home for so many breakthroughs of the Internet. It's amazing that there were no comprehensive textbooks covering the topic until today.
Organizing such enormous data in a 500-line book is a challenge already. But authors managed to go even beyond. The result was a well organized, comprehensive and amazingly easy to follow book.
The book is organized into 6 large sections. Each section is split into Chapters. Wherever appropriate, authors use figures and diagrams to illustrate the point.
The first section, called "Web's Foundation" covers most of the things an average web developer may already have known. It starts off with a chapter on HTTP Overview, and covers such topics as URLs, HTTP Messages - requests and responses, connections - parallel, persistent and pipeline. Some of the highlights are HTTP versions and their differences, URL conversion algorithms and status codes.
The second section, called "HTTP Architecture", is probably the most informative section with lots of gory details. It discusses existing technologies that make things happen - players of the Web. Starts with Web Servers that actually serve the original content. Takes you step by step what exactly happens once the Server accepts the request from your browser and displays you the page. Other technologies, such as Proxies, Caching, Gateways, Tunnels and Relays are very well covered. They even talk about Web Robots (a.k.a. Crawlers) and allocate over 30 exciting pages on these both annoying and incredibly useful "creatures".
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Format: Paperback
You think you may know enough HTTP, it's just a simple application level protocol eh? Hold your thought till you read this book. I borrowed this book from a library merely for doing some research on HTTP connection management and secure authentication. However, the more I read, the more I'm amazed there're lots of practical and interesting topics with so rich but not boring details. The book uses quite numbers of pictures to depict different handshaking protocols and complicated concepts, very easy to follow and understand. It is certainly not the HTTP specification reprint. It tells you what, why, where, and how. It is as the name suggested --- The Definitive Guide.
This book gives you very resourceful details on how HTTP works with a wild range of topics like Caching, Proxies, Gateway, Tunneling, Web Robots, Connection Management, Cookies, Various Authentication, Security, i18n, Hosting, and even Load Balancing! For example, it addresses how web crawlers work, really the inside out information, how a web crawler can back track their visited paths and what other alternatives to prevent & resolve loops & dups.

HTTP is becoming the 'operating system' for distributed applications in Internet. No doubt in my mind, from beginners, advanced users, even to researchers, will surely be benefitted from this excellent book. The authors really did a superb job. Five Stars!
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Format: Paperback
This is a really nice, technical reference of HTTP; the technology that makes the web work. I am a software engineer interested in web services, and this book has rescued me from a pile of confusing technical specifications. I've been waiting for a book like this, and it's no surprise O'Reilly came out with it. The book is technically deep, but it's well written and thoughtfully organized. It's not "HTTP" for dummies (it has 700 pages of meat), but the friendly writing made it easy even for my colleagues who knew nothing about HTTP. There are also hundreds of great illustrations that make technical interactions clear.
The book seems useful for anyone that wants to understand how the internet works; but it's deep enough for professional developers and academic types. The authors clearly have clearly spent a lot of work on the book, to make it thorough and readable. The book is very good, but I wish it had more detail about web services and maybe wireless web communications. Those might be slightly off-topic, but I think they'd go great in this book.
I agree with most of the other reviews of this book (but the Anton Skederis review below seems to be reviewing the "HTTP pocket reference" which is an entirely different book). All said, if you are a technical or marketing professional involved with internet technology, or a computer science student, this book may be a good addition to your library. I'd give it a 4.7 out of 5. - T.E.B.
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