Reviews

Reviews

Book review: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications by Christian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea, Flip Chereches-Tosa

The big unstoppable trendy Web 2.0 train is at full steam, allegedly knocking downing the walls of conventional website buildings. Sure, the technologies used may date back to the beginning of the century (wow that sounds like a long time ago!). However, thanks to the publicity and dare I say hype, we are now sitting at the beginning of the second internet bubble.

Book review: OpenVPN: Building and Integrating Virtual Private Networks by Markus Feilner

Virtual Private Networking enables secure online communication over TCP/IP networks such as the Internet and Extranets and between road warriors and there online bases. VPN’s are the stock and blood of many distributed organizations. The technologies involved are relatively easy to use and widely applied. OpenVPN is one suitably viable and mature (James Yonan started the project in 2001), and open source instance. When properly deployed the server has a significant and beneficial impact on the security of your organizations online communication.

Book review: Managing and Customizing OpenCMS 6 Websites by Matt Butcher

If you want to create a free software content management server fast and starting with zero knowledge, and then vigorously and systematically play with a Java based web application, then the book Managing and Customizing OpenCMS 6 by Matt Butcher is the accurate, project orientated and a pragmatic book that you are looking for.

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Book review: Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks by Rickford Grant

Sometimes I wonder what separates the geeks from the non-geeks. I’ve always assumed I fell into the geek category based on my job and the hours spent with computers on my own time. But, after reading Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks, I must not be much of a geek because I found this book to be quite interesting!

Book review: Pro PHP Security by Chris Snyder and Michael Southwell

Good security is the basis of any viable website. With the internet being the most public of places, broken systems cost—money, reputations and possibly customer identities are the currency. Pro PHP Security, published by Apress and written by Chris Snyder and Michael Southwell, is a detailed and authoritive account of the security details that effect a successful deployment of a PHP website. The book ranges from the almost theoretical to the highly practical such as SQL injection attack hardening and validating user input.

Book review: Pro Perl Parsing by Christopher M. Frenz

Pro Perl Parsing is a well-written tome on the subject of various ways of pulling information out of sources such as the HTML, RSS, XML, CSV, the command line and text. More correctly put, the book discusses the extraction of data and some analysis via Perl. The author Christopher M. Frenz understands the value of using CPAN modules and describes parsing through pleasantly brief code examples.

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Book review: The Official Ubuntu Book by Benjamin Mako Hill, et al

The quality publishing around Ubuntu these days cannot be ignored. Another excellent book sits here beside me now, pages flagged with many points of interest. I wasn’t anticipating doing so much detailed reading with this one. After all, I just reviewed another Ubuntu book before this one. How much new information could be in there?

Book review: SELinux by Example: Using Security Enhanced Linux by Frank Mayer, Karl MacMillan and David Caplan

Security is one of the important reasons GNU/Linux is chosen over MS Windows. Many folks will claim that GNU/Linux just isn’t targeted as often. Could be—but it could also be that it isn’t targeted as often due to its design. SELinux takes this concept one step further. Not just satisfied with the inherent security, SELinux has been developed by a team of concerned professionals and is now included by default in the 2.6 kernel. Yes, you may have SELinux already and didn’t even know it.

Book review: Pro MySQL by Michael Kruckenberg and Jay Pipes

MySQL is a significant atom of a LAMP server. This amazingly fast database system is synonymous with PHP applications. Understanding the potentially complex details of views, stored procedures, merge tables, clustering, to name a few, can give your organization a competitive advantage. Pro Mysql, written by Micheal Kruckenberg and Jay Pipes and published by Apress, is a highly detailed account of the more advanced features of MySQL 5.0. A book well worth reading for those of you that want to become experts in this ever-evolving field.

Book review: Java 6 Platform Revealed by John Zukowski

Java SE 6 otherwise known as Mustang is coming and probably much sooner than many 1.4 programmers think. As a programmer or an Architect, do you really know the details of the differences between 1.5 and 1.6? Java 6 Platform Revealed by John Zukowski is the first book I have read on this subject area. The book is short, clear and to the point.

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Book review: Design Concepts with Code: An Approach for Developers by Stanko Blatnik and Kelly Carey

A bit of a departure from our usual fare, Design Concepts with Code is an artistically focused book which talks about the problem of designing the look and feel of websites (or web applications). It’s free software friendly in that it focuses on code and standards rather than specific design applications.

Design Concepts with CodeDesign Concepts with Code

One message that came through very strongly was that if you rely too closely on the tools, they will stunt your creativity

The contents

Book review: Foundations of Ajax by Ryan Asleson, Nathaniel T. Schutta

In case you’ve been living in a cave, Ajax is the hot new buzzword in web development, made popular by Google applications like gmail and Google Maps, and also by Yahoo Mail. It isn’t really a new technology, but rather an emergent phenomenon in web design, made possible by improving de facto standards compatibility among browsers, better programming and debugging tools, and of course, motivated programmers. In brief, Ajax uses remote callbacks to the originating webserver from a Javascript program in a webpage, allowing for much more responsive interfaces.

Book review: Building Online Communities with phpBB 2 by Stoyan Stefanov, Jeremy Rogers, and Mike Lothar

Before the World Wide Web, many people discussed topics on a bulletin board server, or BBS. The main drawback is that many of these BBSes were not connected together, so a user would only be able to converse and leave messages for other users on that same BBS. The Internet, and also the WWW, have enabled users from around the globe to meet in an online community to discuss common topics, anything from animals, computers, music or anything else that anyone would want to discuss.

Book review: The Linux® Kernel Primer: A Top-Down Approach for x86 and PowerPC Architectures

The Linux Kernel Primer is a top down, C biased, project orientated story of how the Linux kernel works. With a little knowledge of C and a rough understanding of Linux basics, this book will lead you to a clear understanding of the kernel.

Book review: Linux® Debugging and Performance Tuning: Tips and Techniques by Steve Best

Debugging and tuning of Linux, though not a romantic subject, is a necessary one for the health of any well-run free software biased network. A slight change here and a nudge there in the background can make the difference between user discomfort and a quiet Sunday afternoon for the poor old administrator. Linux Debugging and Performance Tuning as written by Steve Best is an excellent zoom in on this complex and detailed subject area.

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Book review: Nagios: System and Network Monitoring by Wolfgang Barth

There was a commercial on US television a while back that showed a man in an office building, and the man sticks his head into a coworker’s office, and says, “The network’s down, want to go grab a bagel?” The following scenes show each of those coworkers asking other coworkers to step out for a bagel. The final scene of the commercial shows the entire office, several hundred people, all crossing the street down below to grab a bagel, since they couldn’t do their jobs without a computer network. While Nagios can’t prevent network or application outages, it can actively monitor conditions and alert the appropriate people to ensure the network or application functionality can be restored quickly. Nagios: System and Network Monitoring by Wolfgang Barth is an excellent book which addresses installation, basic configuration, and provides an in-depth look into how to configure service checking for multiple platforms for Nagios 2.0.

Book review: Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective by Diomidis Spinellis

Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective is aimed at the very heart and soul of the open source movement. Without code quality Open Source would be a muddied named that no one would value or deploy. This book by Diomidis Spinellis is a well written, well focused and to a high degree an eternal description of the varying types and issues that can be found in programming languages such as Java and C.

Book review: Linux® Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users by David Carmichael, et al

Imagine, if you dare, the deep seated nightmare of any decent law abiding Linux system administrator. It is late at night and the wind is howling mightily outside, the network is down due to a maintenance slot and your beloved enterprise wide system X, Y or Z fails to reboot after patching the kernel. What do you do next? Well, one might consider grabbing a troubleshooting book off a near to hand shelf. Linux® Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users may fulfill this primordial fear abating function.

Book review: Regular Expression Pocket Reference by Tony Stubblebine

This wonderful little book contains the most common and useful information on Regular Expressions you will need for Perl, C, PHP, Python, Java, .NET, vi Editor, and shell tools. The author, Tony Stubblebine, credits another O’Reilly book, Mastering Regular Expressions, as being the definitive work. Fortunately though, this book is sized a little smaller for quicker references. Sometimes you just need a quick reminder on syntax and don’t need a definitive work.

Book review: Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing

When you develop an open source work or use an open source work, it is important that you understand the license. A well written license protects both you and the user. According to the information found on the O’Reilly website, “Andrew M. St. Laurent is an experienced lawyer with a long-time interest in intellectual property, particularly software licensing”. Rest assured, after reading this book you will have a new appreciation for those who work daily with licensing issues.

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Pages

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