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Last Review by acid_kewpie - posted: 06-19-2005 04:29 PM [ Post a Review

Views: 35600

So often, books on any given programming language, database or suchlike, take a strict line on what is deemed to be suitable for inclusion. Often this can be understandable given the potentially huge breadth of what this could be, so many OSes to over and some many other ways to use the product in question once it's core functionality is covered. Michael Kofler's definitive Guide to MySQL takes that challenge on, touching pretty much every likely way people will use SQL. The book is split into two main areas, Fundamentals and Programming. Each doing admirable justice to its objectives. The basic principles of MySQL is covered though the near 300 pages of the Fundamentals section. We get a reasonably standard grounding in the basics of the SQL language, including a responsible discussion on the limitations of MySQL, primarily it's areas of non-compliance to the ANSI SQL92 standard, something that's bitten me too many times in the past. And so it comes to pass that by about page 230 you have been given a lot of really comprehensive advice about every part of the core SQL language with suitable examples and applications aplenty, in addition to good adherence to SQL best practises such as table normalisation. The rest if Fundamentals takes us onto basic administration tasks, to provide the bread and butter foundations of any DBA's knowledge: both theory and practise of topics including transactions, security, backups, data import and export and others besides, and we've long since covered customized installations and configuration way back in the Introduction. For me it's put a tick next to everything I'd have on my checklist for getting to know the insides of MySQL, but what about the outsides? How is MySQL going to help you and me in "real" world? Cue the second phase of this weighty tome: Programming. As a moderator of, I'm used to people asking how they actually do something with MySQL, or any other database on Linux. Maybe they've done some Access work in windows, and got the hang of SQL (or rather, a very "interesting" version of) and are not ware of how a real database operates. From page 373 onwards is going to be the answer to anyone's question, you've just got to find it. Thanks to the rise and rise of the Great Big InterWeb, and LAMP with it, PHP is the main focus of programming literature. In really good detail we're shown what libraries exist to allow the M and the P to do business, how to use the basic API functionality, and sizeable examples to go with them. Rather than the somewhat typical experience of having one pretend business be battered into submission to demonstrate every API call, we have two short and succinct case studies: a Library (OK, it is still books... but it's too easy not to I guess!) and also a basic Web forum. Each example sets out it's manifesto and goes and does everything it says it will. We're then offered a number of extensions to implement should they take your fancy. Whilst PHP takes the lions share of the section, we are, in no uncertain terms, given a more than able grounding in Perl, Java, JSP, C, C++, VB and more generic ODBC interactions. Really not much more you could ask for if this is your first taste of MySQL, ehh? This is a great book, really nice to see the author going for something of a holistic approach to the subject of MySQL. I have to say that this is wholly recommended for any new and fair-to-middling user. Or at least it will be until MySQL 5.0 settles in, and then Iíll be waiting for the third edition, and a much smaller Limitations section.

Rating: 9
Product Details: "The Definitive Guide to MySQL" by acid_kewpie - posted: 06-19-2005 - Rating: ********* 9.00

Last Review by acid_kewpie - posted: 03-26-2005 05:13 PM [ Post a Review

Views: 28892

The new third edition of Peter Wainwright's Pro Apache attempts to cover pretty much everything any level of Apache user might want to know. It insightfully covers all aspects of running apache in an impressive level of detail. Not only does the book explain how to get it running on Linux, but also on other Unix variants and Windows. Not only does it cover all common aspects of apache's running configuration, but also details how to build Apache from the ground up in the first place. Not only does it explain the current standards of Apache 2.0, but also the 1.3 platform. Maybe the scope of the manual is too ambitious to be a truly useful tool in terms of useful depth of knowledge in each area? Weighing in at a chunk 850+ pages, there's plenty of room for all the detail you're likely to need. Pulling random questions out of an imaginary hat I was typically able to find a more than adequate answer at each level of technical ability in the briefest time, with only a few misses. As mentioned above, the book does attempt a pretty impressive range of topics, so a few things are bound to be a little thin on the ground. The most notable area is the use of the various modules, where, while the most useful and critical are paid all due care and attention, others are occasionally skimmed over, a little too briefly. It is a potentially unfair criticism though, as it's hardly the author job to reproduce third party documentation in every detail. The pros keep greatly outweighing any cons however, with a great pro often found missing elsewhere being a really substantial configuration and installation section starting off the book, going all the way back to selecting appropriate hardware specs for the intended server load and application. Also in the introductory stages are some really down to earth discussions of what Apache is, where it came from and how it fits in to the rest of the jolly big interweb, via a side step into tcp/ip functionality and good networking fundamentals. The overall level of assumed knowledge does tend to vary somewhat throughout the book, with some very newbie friendly descriptions in the earlier stages being sidelined towards the end for a lot more of the heavyweight talk. As long as the reader is aware of their own levels of knowledge, they should easily be able to decide for themselves which sections are likely to be talking their language, rather than mismatching somewhat. Once the dust has settled, the book certainly comes out with a score heavily in its favour. Information shared in it is nearly always heavily backed up with solid explanations, and is likely to be of huge benefit to anyone involved in Apache at any level.

Rating: 9
Product Details: "Pro Apache, Third Edition" by acid_kewpie - posted: 03-26-2005 - Rating: ********* 9.00

Last Review by acid_kewpie - posted: 04-07-2004 06:39 PM [ Post a Review

Views: 25797

This 2001 O'Reilly publication goes over the basics and the not-so-basics of P2P networking. It discusses the fundamental concepts in what P2P means and also takes a wide range of real example networks and describes them in a very real context that is easy to understand. As well as the usual suspects of Napster and Gnutella it also looks at other forms of P2P networking, such as Red Rover, a loosely bound network used to anonymously hold documents possibly of a sensitive political nature outside of the countries where simply being found in the possession of a *broken* modem can wind up with execution (Apparently... don't ask me!) Concepts such as small world networks are also explored, explaining clearly why it's a really bad idea for a file sharing client like gtk-gnutella to come ready set with 100 standard nodes. Explanations are made about the way that, over time, the network's implicitly random qualities will lead it to even out to an impressive average of approximately 4 steps to any machien on the gnutella network (see "six degrees of kevin bacon"! ;-) ) This is, without exception, the only computer textbook I have ever read purely out of interest. I found it in my University library one wet afternoon and couldn't stop reading it. You forget the complex algorithms underneath it all and really get a good grip of whats going on, and you enjoy the journey too. Buy it!

Rating: 9
Product Details: "Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies" by acid_kewpie - posted: 04-07-2004 - Rating: ********* 9.00

Last Review by acid_kewpie - posted: 06-10-2003 02:36 PM [ Post a Review

Views: 118861

Gentoo is fairly new on the scene compared to Suse, Redhat et al, but is growing extremely fast. The idea that you have a system totally and utterly compiled from scratch (a la LFS) while being very easy to install and use (not a la LFS) makes a really interesting and attractive idea. Portage, the package management system allows you to continually update your package list to online resources changing by the minute means you can always have the very latest versions of software on your system without having to wait for the next sluggish release from Redhat. It is still in it's early days and isn't that polished in all areas, but stick to the officially stable ebuilds and you'll be fine. There is no installation guide, as it's really not needed. the online documentation for the install takes you through each step stupidly clearly and concisely and you know what you're doing every step of the way. All areas of installing from source, e.g. compiling your kernel are foolproof as it comes with a number of preconfigured kernel setups you don't need to fiddle with at all (but where's the fun in that?). You also get to chose a host of things on install that you'd not expect, e.g. your choice of kernel logger (Did Mandrake ever bother asking you?) Because Gentoo is continually being updated they don't really release official versions much, as it just doesn't make sense really. if you installed 1.2 last year and have been "emerge -u wolrld"ing every so often, then you will be running the same system as if you installed 1.4 now. The install does take a while though. I heard a fair few horror stories about the install taking three days 1 for base, 2 for X and 3 for kde, however Installed everything over night on an athlon 1.2 with a 512kbps broadband connection. These long times are all one-of's though. and once it's installed you'll be glad you waited a little longer. It would probably suck a bit without broadband, however you can still get by easily with a semi precompiled gentoo image which comes with the base libraries (about 150mb compiled) so you can save a lot of time there... One of the best aspects i've found about Gentoo is the community. The developers ARE the users, and people aer very welcome to help maintain and develop the ebuilds for the system. The online forums are also used to a scary extent. For example, the weekly Gentoo newsletter always contains a handful on interesting threads from the previous weeks. Check it out. it's cool.

Rating: 10
Product Details: "1.4" by acid_kewpie - posted: 06-10-2003 - Rating: ******** 8.43


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