If you plan to start at the hardware levelof server building, this book isn’t foryou. Although the hardware require-ments are noted in each section, nochapters talk about how to select amotherboard or how many processors toinstall. Either purchase an off-the-shelf server computer that fits the require-ments or already know how to build oneyourself before proceeding with this text.This book is instructional, constructedin a step-by-step approach. The bookdoesn’t really have chapters so much as“teaching modules,” and each modulepresents an isolated and self-containedtask. Modules are organized in specificsections, such as Summary, Resources,Required (hardware and software re-quirements), Preparation, and so on.Hong deftly helps readers navigatethrough the more than 15,000 applica-tions offered through the FreeBSD portstree. Although the ports tree does makeit easier to configure applications, it’sstill not for the faint of heart.
Building a Server with FreeBSD 7
This book was written asyour guide through suchuncharted (or at least, pre-viously not as well charted)territory, allowing you to ac-complish with relative easewhat might have seemedlike a daunting project pre-viously.The book is also an easyread, is technically accurate,and presents just the infor-mation you need to get eachjob done.Hong organized his book in just twoparts – “The Base System” and “Third-Party Applications” – but each part con-tains the relevant modules. The first partis brief because the base system is justthe common foundation required tobuild any BSD system. Part 2 is wherethe book really takes off.At this point, you can either select themodule or modules that interest you, oryou can read each and every one. Thelatter option is compel-ling because it illustratesto the reader just whatis possible to build withthe instructions at hand.The caveat is that youreally need to have sysadmin experience, par-ticularly with UNIX-likeoperating systems. A tal-ented student would suf-fice, but although thebook does present someelementary concepts, it doesn’t take youfrom being a novice to being an expert.If building your own system usingFreeBSD 7 meets any of your goals, thencheck out this book.
Bryan J. HongPaperback, 288 PagesNo Starch Press; 2008ISBN-10: 159327145XISBN-13: 978-1593271459UK£ 22.50, US$ 34.95, EUR 24,95
BY JAMES PYLES
Wicked Cool PHP: Real-World Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems
Wouldn’t it be nice to read a program-ming book that assumes you alreadyknow the basics and are now ready forthe next step? Say nomore: Steinmetz and Wardwrote it, at least for PHP.The idea is that onceyou learn PHP, which isn’tincredibly difficult, you’llwant to tap into the poten-tial of this language with-out having to bang yourhead against a wall for sixmonths trying to figureout the best way to dothings on your own.The first sentence of Chapter 1 says,“The scripts contained in this chapteranswer several questions that clog PHPforums and discussion groups all overthe world.” This book lifts those ques-tions out of the dank recesses of discus-sion forum databases andanswers them.This book is the next stepafter a beginner’s book,when you want more expe-rience with PHP. Chapter 2addresses basic PHP config-uration tasks, and subse-quent chapters presentmore specific material, suchas security, forms, email,session tracking, and so on.Each chapter providesscripts that accomplish specific goals.I recommend that you at least read thefirst two chapters, then browse the tableof contents or index for the specific top-ics that interest you.The scripts focus on the most commonthings you learned PHP for in the firstplace, such as specific server-side tasks.As a language, PHP has its particularstrengths and weaknesses. The Stein-metz and Ward book excels at presentingscripts that highlight the strengths andhelp you avoid the weaknesses.If you’re interested in PHP, then get acopy of
Wicked Cool PHP
William Steinmetz and Brian WardPaperback, 224 PagesNo Starch Press; 2008ISBN-10: 1593271735ISBN-13: 978-1593271732UK£ 18.99, US$ 29.95, EUR 35,99