Apache Week
   Issue 239, 23rd March 2001:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Poised to be the largest gathering of Apache users to date, ApacheCon 2001 is being held in Santa Clara, USA in April. Registration at the ApacheCon site is now open and if you don't want to pay to see the talks why not go along to the free two-day exhibition instead?

The conference will feature presentations from top developers about key Apache-related and many new open source technologies as well as number of keynotes. These include Science Fiction author David Brin, who will answer the questions of whether the Open Source Movement represents one of the most hopeful signs that a complex civilization may be able to adapt to changing times. His talk will explore a range of possible changes challenges we may face in the near future and touch upon some plausible visions of the territory just beyond. Another keynote speaker, Jon "maddog" Hall, Executive Director of Linux(R) International will look at "a large company in the Pacific north-west" that says that people wish to keep on using PCs and "a large company in Redwood Shores, California" that says that people wish to store all of their data in large server machines, then use "thin clients". While an argument can be made for either, Hall will make a stronger argument for both.

Apache Week will be there as always to cover the events, but if you don't attend you'll miss out on all the fun and the chance to meet the Apache gurus.

Under Development

The last two weeks saw interest in mod_proxy development liven up as Graham Leggett committed his patches to start supporting HTTP/1.1 to the Apache 2.0 mod_proxy development tree. The changes which have been made to the Apache 1.3 mod_proxy have also been ported over to bring the 2.0 tree up to date.

Ryan Bloom made another alpha release of Apache 2.0 on March 12th, this one 2.0.14. The changes are minor since 2.0.13, including an improvement to mod_include and some important bug fixes.

Bill Stoddard has committed another of the changes made by the SGI Accelerating Apache project, to remove the need to always use the 'sscanf' function to parse the HTTP protocol number in requests. Bill highlighted the reasons why the Accelerating Apache patches were largely ignored by the Apache group: this small and useful patch was hidden inside a large patch which covered many unrelated changes, making it very hard to review.

It was believed that some of the problems with Apache 2.0 were due to pipelining of requests. Pipelining in HTTP/1.1 allows the client to send multiple requests at once without having to wait for a response from each. Although the majority of clients do not yet use pipelining, new versions of the mozilla browser have the option of enabling them. A w3c paper explains how pipelining works and the performance gains that can be expected by using it.

Jakarta Velocity v1.0 beta 1 Released

The Velocity project this week announced the release of the first beta of version 1 of the Velocity template engine. Velocity is a powerful template engine written in Java and released as open source software under the Apache Software License.

Velocity is ideal for web development as it separates the Java code from the web pages, making the web site more maintainable. This is a different approach to that taken by other scripting languages such as Java Server Pages (JSP), ASP, and PHP. This enforced abstraction prevents web page designers from seeing the complexity of the Java code, and prevents the programmers from unduly influencing the look of web sites.

More information on Velocity is available.

Featured articles

In this section we highlight some of the articles on the web that are of interest to Apache users.

Jeffrey Carl gives a few tips on handy tools to use when troubleshooting server problems in "The Web Server First Aid Kit". Its approach can be applied to most Unix and Linux systems but it occasionally refers specifically to the Apache Web Server. Some of the problems it tackles are: figuring out the cause of slow response from server, unauthorized entry, and network misconfiguration.

Take23 shows us how to use Apache::PortCorrect (a Perl module) to redirect users from a nonsecure port over to a secure SSL port based on the URL that they are trying to access. This article is for those who are more at home using mod_perl with the Apache Web Server and mod_ssl than setting up a set of mod_rewrite rules to perform the same task.

On the PHP front, "The need for speed" looks at a few solutions such as the Zend Optimizer, caching modules, and web content compression to improve the performance of a PHP-enabled web site. Keith Reichley uses PHP and mySQL to shorten long URLs or "hide" the actual link to a web page in "Jump-Start to easy URL's".

"Connecting to Internet Services" explores the fundamentals of connecting to other Web sites or services through the socket functions available in PHP 4. The example code uses the Geektools Whois Proxy to gather information regarding specific domain names.

The Developer Shed demonstrates how to use JSP to manipulate data from a mySQL database and dynamically generate a web page from it in "The JSP Files (part 5)". The techniques can also be applied to all major databases.

Comments or criticisms? Please email us at editors@apacheweek.com