Apache Week
   Issue 290, 5th April 2002:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Under development

The long-awaited "bucket freelist" patch was committed this week by Cliff Woolley. Before this change, the bucket brigade code (underlying the filters interface in 2.0) directly used malloc and free for allocating buckets (on which filters operate: a bucket represents a piece of data being processed). The new behaviour has been optimised to re-use memory without calling free, giving a significant performance improvement. Some benchmarks were posted comparing some mod_include test pages; one page being processed over over three times faster using the current 2.0 code than in 1.3.24.

The next release of Apache 2.0, due to be 2.0.34 (which was tagged last week), remains on hold as problems were discovered in mod_autoindex, due to some complex interactions in the handling of filters during sub-request processing.

Featured articles

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

"Apache 2.0 - A Look Under the Hood" which first appeared in the January 2002 issue of Linux Magazine is now available online. It takes a high-level look at the differences between Apache 1.3.x and Apache 2.0, and also touches on the changes required to port custom Apache 1.3.x modules for this version 2.0.

Jeremy Zawodny explains what you need to do when you finally decide to migrate your current Web site with all its plain HTML files to a PHP-enabled Apache web server in this article. It assumes that PHP is already built into your copy of Apache so it just walks you through the steps of configuring Apache's httpd.conf file, and then shows you how to use .htaccess files, and mod_rewrite to avoid broken links when you rename some of your .html files to .php.

Perl.com starts a new series with its first installment which introduces AxKit, an XML Application Server for Apache. It describes what AxKit is, lists the pros, guides you through a manual installation, and then accesses its test page after configuring it. Diagrams are used effectively to illustrate the pipelining technique.

A tutorial entitled "Apache SOAP type mapping, Part 1" examines the type system support provided by the Apache SOAP toolkit with focus on the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) model. It also explores the API support for serialisation and deserialisation.

Book Review: mod_perl Developer's Cookbook

Perl developers who want to create Web applications by harnessing the flexibility of Apache, and mod_perl enabled Apache web site administrators are the target audience of this book. Meanwhile, the authors intended it to be a practical, hands-on reference guide containing working, real-world examples.

This 650-page book has 17 chapters and 3 appendices, grouped under three main parts - Part I covers installing and configuring mod_perl, Part II covers the mod_perl API, and Part III covers each of the Apache directives provided by mod_perl. The essence of each part is summarised at the start before moving on to the individual chapters. Each chapter begins with an introduction, is then followed by subsections referred to in the book as recipes. Each recipe is for a specific task or problem and has the following format - it states the objective of the task in just one sentence, proceeds to provide the code for the task under the "Technique" subsection, and then explains what the code does under the "Comments" subsection. There are a total of 192 recipes.

Although the authors cautioned that this book is by no means comprehensive, I would say that this book is as close as a book can get to become the bible of mod_perl so if you are really serious about mod_perl, then get it by all means! It may set you back nearly 30 pounds (USD40) but it is well worth-it. Even if you are a beginner, eventually you will find this book useful after you are through with all the online mod_perl guides and documentation. Experts will have fun jumping right in, going through the recipes and rediscovering the joy of finding a dish that they have not tasted before.

Read our full review

Apache Week giveaway

We have three copies of the "mod_perl Developer's Cookbook" to give away to lucky readers, thanks to the authors. For a chance to get your hands on a copy of this book, answer this simple question:

What is the main ingredient in Chilli Con Carne?
A) Beef B) Vodka C) Chocolate

Send your answer (A, B, or C) to moo@apacheweek.com to reach us no later than 16th April 2002. We do read all the entries, so if you have something on your mind about Apache Week, Apache security, or life in general, add it after your answer. Your e-mail address will not be used for anything other than to let you know if you won. Three winners will be drawn at random from all correct entries submitted, we disqualify people who make more than one entry, no cash alternative, void where prohibited, editors' decision is final.

This issue brought to you by: Mark J Cox, Joe Orton, Min Min Tsan
Comments or criticisms? Please email us at editors@apacheweek.com