As the owner and designer of several web sites and as a systems administrator, it's only natural that I know how to compile, install, and configure Apache at least enough to get a basic web server up and running. The problem, however, is that (as is the case with a lot of open-source software) on-line instructions are often poorly written or assume that you grew up knowing the core functionality of the software. Apache is no different. The documentation on [...] assumes that you know all that there is to know about modules and configuration. To someone who has never worked with Apache or is looking to implement functions that he never implemented before, the documentation on the Internet is absolutely infuriating. At least that's how I feel whenever I try to get information about a particular function that I would like to implement.
For the most part, no one is looking to configure Apache to be some application web site with tons of functionality and precompiled modules. But sometimes even looking for instructions for a simple configuration can be a daunting task.
"Apache Phrasebook" is a very concise manual that helps you to get started with many, different Apache configurations. It's not a complete how-to of Apache configurations nor is it meant to be. Being only 4.5 inches by 7 inches and totaling just over 200 pages, Apache Phrasebook is meant to be your pocket-sized reference manual with the essential code and commands that most Apache administrators need to get Apache up and running.
The various topics in Apache Phrasebook include installation, troubleshooting, log file maintenance, dynamic content, virtual hosts, security (including SSL/TSL), performance tuning and scalability, and even WebDAV. Each particular topic is covered quickly with an example of how to configure Apache to implement that particular function.
Although this might seem like a book that's too light to be of any value, just paging through it makes me realize how many of the tasks that I thought were daunting actually are quite easy to implement.
That's really what this book attempts to accomplish, and I think that it does it well. It doesn't overload you with numerous examples that are not viable in the real world. It doesn't go into the minutiae of how modules interact with each other. It doesn't attempt to explain the dozens if not hundreds of compiling options and prerequisites. It doesn't go into the confusing topics of overrides, contexts, or directives. It is written as if to say, "You want to do what? Well, this is how you do it. That's it. Done. Next question."
I really like this book because it's written in the way that I like books to be written. Tell me what to do and how to do it without over-complicating the issue or side-tracking me with little anecdotes. And for the price, there is no reason why every Apache administrator should not have this book close at hand.