[Kc] Book Review: Web Development with Apache and Perl

Garrett Goebel garrett at scriptpro.com
Thu Jul 10 15:44:41 CDT 2003

Title: Web Development with Apache and Perl
Author: Theo Peterson
Publisher: Manning
Published: 2002_05
ISBN: 1930110065
Pages: 560

This text is similar to Lincoln Stein's "How to Set-Up and Maintain a Web
Site". It is an introductory to intermediate level overview of web
development utilizing Apache and Perl. It starts by assuming you've already
settled on Apache and Perl, and lays the case to help you convince others.
It then proceeds to tour the current offerings for working with persistence,
security, session management, templating systems, content and performance
management, and e-commerce.

My initial impression was that the author was overplaying his hand. He has
the habit of starting each chapter with a lot of open ended questions. More
than he's able to answer in considerable depth. As I read on, my negative
impression softened. These were after all the types of questions the book's
readers will asking themselves. Peterson does a good job of covering the
first 20% of the what's and how's which get your project 80% of the way
there, even if the occassional opening question drops through the cracks
never to be answered.

Peterson has done an admirable job presenting the current assortment of
technologies, tools, and their uses in an approachable manner for readers
either new to web development or returning after a hiatus. The advice is
reasonable and the issues, examples, and code selections are good. The book
could be read either as mile-high overview by managers to familiarize
themselves with the technologies and how they fit together... or by budding
web developers as a general roadmap with good pointers to avenues for
continued research and reading.

It is a sad truth in this industry, that as soon as something is printed, it
is often already out-of-date. As a case in point, the section on e-commerce
mentions Redhat's Credit Card Verification System (CCVS). A service which
has already come to an untimely demise.

Still the book is timely, well written, and provides excellent coverage for
people looking for an efficient start on web development with Perl and
Apache. The lingering question is whether it'll still be timely a year from
now. Perhaps Manning and Peterson will be willing to keep frequent updates
in print.

Garrett Goebel
IS Development Specialist

ScriptPro                  Direct: 913.403.5261
5828 Reeds Road            Main:   913.384.1008
Mission, KS 66202          Fax:    913.384.2180
www.scriptpro.com          garrett at scriptpro dot com

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