MAC OS X Web Server Handbook

Overview

  • Host robust, high-performance Web sites with Mac OS X!
  • From the basics to scripting, Web applications, e-commerce, and beyond!
  • Expert deployment, security, and administration techniques
  • Mac-based e-mail, database services, streaming media, forums, chat, and more
  • Covers Apache, iTools, WebSTAR, and other leading Mac OS X Web servers

Deliver powerhouse Web sites and Internet services with Mac OS X!

Mac OS X combines Mac simplicity with rock-solid UNIX foundations—making it an outstanding platform for ...

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Overview

  • Host robust, high-performance Web sites with Mac OS X!
  • From the basics to scripting, Web applications, e-commerce, and beyond!
  • Expert deployment, security, and administration techniques
  • Mac-based e-mail, database services, streaming media, forums, chat, and more
  • Covers Apache, iTools, WebSTAR, and other leading Mac OS X Web servers

Deliver powerhouse Web sites and Internet services with Mac OS X!

Mac OS X combines Mac simplicity with rock-solid UNIX foundations—making it an outstanding platform for hosting high-traffic Web sites, delivering volumes of e-mail, and providing virtually any Internet service. Best of all, since it's a Mac, you don't need years of training—just the Mac OS X Web Server Handbook and the up-to-the-minute updates at the book's Web site.

David L. Hart, MacCentral Online's long-time Web server columnist, covers everything from basic Web server setup through database integration, XHTML, and XML—even e-commerce. You'll discover today's best Mac OS X-based solutions and techniques for:

  • Providing e-mail, FTP, search, and mailing list services
  • Deploying community forums, chat, Web cams, and other popular site features
  • Providing custom interactivity with Perl, PHP, and other scripting languages
  • Implementing effective Web security
  • Delivering live and streaming media
  • Managing your server and your site
  • Establishing an e-commerce storefront, and much more

When it comes to serving up Web and Internet services, why hassle with other operating systems? Mac OS X can do it all—and with the , so can you!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130327154
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 5/9/2001
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.99 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 The Big Picture 1
Ch. 2 Mac OS X and Internet Basics 7
Ch. 3 Goals and Planning 31
Ch. 4 Networking 55
Ch. 5 System Maintenance 85
Ch. 6 Client Software 99
Ch. 7 Web Servers 129
Ch. 8 FTP, E-Mail, and Search 163
Ch. 9 Databases and XML 191
Ch. 10 Guestbooks, Forums, and Chats 209
Ch. 11 Scripting and the CGI 223
Ch. 12 Beyond Scripting 253
Ch. 13 E-Commerce 289
Ch. 14 Live and Streaming Media 307
Ch. 15 Development and Design 325
Ch. 16 Future Web 363
App. A: Mac OS X Resources 381
App. B: Web Reference Guides 385
Index 389
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Preface

PREFACE

This book hits the shelves almost three years after its predecessor, the Mac OS 8 Web Server Cookbook, and it's interesting to consider how things—especially the Internet—have changed in that span of time. For starters, the Web has truly come of age and has become an integral part of daily life rather than a gee-whiz accessory for university or high-tech communities. While the Web is still experiencing some growing pains and has not yet settled into its final niche in the media spectrum, it has affected how people communicate, publish information, shop, and gather information.

Another major change has seen Apple rebound from a period in which its future was often called into question by all but the most die-hard proponents to a profitable three-year run (only recently interrupted by a slight downturn along with much of the personal computer industry). The past few years have seen the introduction of the iMac, such as the graphite iMac DV Special Edition on which this book was written, the iBook, the G4 processor, and the Titanium PowerBook. And of course, there's Mac OS X.

Mac OS X marks a significant shift in the operating system that most Mac users have come to know and love. The "Classic" Mac OS—from System 7 to Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9—has long been simultaneously adored by advocates for its ease of use and condemned by others for certain shortcomings really understood only by those who have a background in the intricacies of computer operating systems. For everyone else, these shortcomings are most evident in the annoying need to manually adjust the memory allocation assigned to Mac OS applications.

After several years offits and starts, Apple has accomplished a fairly amazing feat. It has taken an industrial-strength UNIX foundation, renovated the graphical Mac OS interface to shield most users from the technicalities of this UNIX-based environment, granted access to the UNIX underpinnings for the technically adept, and provided a migration path that ensures backwards compatibility with the Classic Mac OS.

For Mac adherents who want to use their Macs to join the World Wide Web, Mac OS X represents yet another leap forward. Mac OS X merges the Web serving tools that have evolved with attention to the ease of use of the Mac OS and the tools (both free and commercial) that have been developed for UNIX, the dominant operating system of Web serving computers.

So the three years since this book's predecessor have seen major changes in the landscape of Mac Web serving, and it was clear to me that an update to the Mac OS 8 Web Server Cookbook was in order. And that update soon became a wholesale rewrite of the book. There are some similarities, and I carried over those portions that had stood the test of time, but the organization and selection of software and Web resources has been completely reconstructed. I hope you find my efforts useful.

THE BOOK FOR YOU

If you have decided it's time to serve some information, either to the whole world via the Web or to a single organization via an intranet, this may be the book for you. My first job is to turn that "may" into a yes or a no. If you want a succinct road map for establishing an Internet server, complete with Web server and a full suite of enhancements, read on. What you'll find here is everything you need to get started. If you really wanted software documentation for whatever piece of software you're having trouble with at the moment, then you need a different book.

This road map was assembled for three groups of people:

  • Mac addicts who will use a Mac for their Internet server even if they have to write the code themselves,
  • Users who are considering Macs for their Internet server but aren't sure if Macs are up to it, and
  • Webmasters, regardless of platform, who might be seeking some information about the potential of Mac OS X for their servers.

To the Mac addicts, I'd like to say: Relax. Setting up a solid, secure Mac OS X Internet server is just as easy as installing any Mac application. It might take as little as three mouse clicks (see Chapter 7).

To those of you considering a Mac OS X Web server, I'll just say: If you want an Apache Web server that takes about 30 minutes to set up and can handle just as many hits as any other operating system, you might want to look closely at Mac OS X. If you want a Web server running on an operating system that requires years of training to administer, go with UNIX or Windows.

To webmasters using UNIX and Windows systems: Regardless of the operating system you're using for your Web servers, the steps to establish your server and the results your visitors see are all about the same. You might find this book useful in many respects, and you might learn a thing or two about Mac OS X in the process.

SCOPE

Let's make sure you understand the scope of the material presented in this book.

Emphasis on Information Servers, Not Clients. Downloading a file with FTP, sending e-mail, or surfing the Web are client activ up a secure FTP server, redistributing an incoming message to a mailing list, or making a Web home page available are server activities. Most Internet-related books deal only with the client side of the Internet. This is not a book about using Web browsers like Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer, nor is it a book of "cool" sites. Having said that, Chapter 6 helps you install and configure client software so you can review the information on your own server.

Not Just the Web. Of the books available that do describe how to set up an Internet server, the focus is almost always on a Web server. This book is about designing and maintaining a server to support FTP, mailing list servers, search engines, forums, e-commerce sites, and databases as well as the Web.

Establishing a Mac OS X-based Information Server. Many of the principles in this book apply to servers using any of the UNIX and Microsoft Windows variants, as well as to Mac OS servers. However, this book will have much shorter chapters on installing software, configuring the system, and administering the server than a comparable book about non-Mac operating systems.

THE HANDBOOK FORMAT

As a handbook, this book doesn't spend time on too many details. You can think of the book as a road map. With a road map, you begin with something that covers a large area and shows you how to get from Point A to Point B on regional highways and major surface streets before homing in on the specifics. This handbook mentions hundreds of different software applications; there's no way I can present complete documentation on all of them. All I can do is point you in the right direction and give you the tools you need to find the rest of the information you need.

At this level, my road map helps you answer questions about the route you want to take to get to the Web server of your dreams: Should I use a database? How do I support online communities? Should I stream video clips? What's the difference between a Java applet and a Java servlet?

In one of the most significant changes from the previous version of this book, I've steered clear of the details of creating HTML pages. You won't find definitions of the various tags and attributes, although there are some examples here and there. I made this change for two reasons. First, there are many books out there that do the job more completely and thoroughly. (The fact that describing HTML fills a book is another reason not to give it short shrift in this book devoted to other purposes.)

Second, this book discusses not only HTML, but also XML, SMIL, XHTML, CSS, and other markup languages. In fairness to all the other languages, there was no clear reason to detail HTML alone. Finally, advances in Web page editing tools have made it much less necessary to understand the nuances of HTML to create your Web pages. I heartily recommend that you do learn about HTML if you have anything to do with creating Web pages, but you'll need a different book to help you with that.

Prerequisites

You don't need years of experience with Mac OS X to make use of this book, which is lucky, since Mac OS X has only recently been available to the public. However, this book does assume you have some knowledge of using a Macintosh. In some cases, some familiarity with UNIX will come in handy, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Degree of Macintosh Proficiency. In setting up a Macintosh server, you need a basic familiarity with configuring and operating the Mac OS. For example, you should understand the basics of folders and files, and using the mouse to open items or make selections from menus. If you can perform these tasks, you can run an Internet server.

Familiarity with HTML and Web Languages. I have assumed that you have some passing familiarity with HTML and related Web markup languages. I expect that you won't be baffled by the basic structure of an HTML file and that you know about tags and attributes. If you know that the bulk of a Web page is put between the

andtags and that you can display text in boldface by putting it between and tags, then you should be fine.

Established Local Area Networks. For those wishing to set up an Internet server on a local-area network (LAN), this book assumes the LAN has already been established. This book does not discuss how to set up Macintosh networks, although some pointers for further information are provided. For the most part, I provide instructions only for connecting a single Macintosh (from a home or business) to the Internet.

Software Disclaimer

I also want to issue a disclaimer. This whole book was written during the public beta release of Mac OS X, just in time for the final release to appear as the publisher had the "final" manuscript. Many frantic, last-minute changes were made to ensure that the descriptions in this book coincide with what you see in the final release of Mac OS X. This book is as accurate as I could make it based on the software available. However, not all developers produced Mac OS X-compatible versions of their software during the public beta release, so I was not always able to run the software in question. In fact, many applications were not yet available for the public beta of Mac OS X. Many developers were understandably hesitant to release beta software on a beta operating system.

However, because of Apple's efforts to make it easy for developers to port Classic Mac OS applications to Mac OS X, this book assumes that most Classic Mac OS applications will become available for Mac OS X at its final release or shortly thereafter. I did my best to confirm that the applications featured prominently in this book, and to a lesser degree those listed in the tables, would be available for Mac OS X, but that was not always possible. I also tried to note in the text those applications for which I made this assumption.

In any event, I tried to list as many Mac OS applications as possible to recognize the efforts of Mac software developers in general. You might also find that a few UNIX-native applications will become available for Mac OS X soon after its release. I hope all this doesn't cause too much confusion.

CONVENTIONS

Throughout this book, I've used some conventions as shorthand for items that would otherwise take too long to explain each time that they occurred. I've included a list in the table on the following page.

For example, because of the predominance of the Web, I've omitted almost every occurrence of the http:// prefix from Web URLs. I realize this may offend purists, but maybe it'll save some ink and a tree or two. In general, if you see a computer host-name in italics—usually but not always beginning with www—try visiting that location with your Web browser.

Another common convention is the use of a file-name extension to denote files of a certain type. For example, I'll often refer to text files that contain HTML markup commands as .html files. GIF images are often described as .gif files. This shorthand serves both to identify the file type and to remind you about the Web's naming conventions. These conventions are usually required for your Web server to work, so it pays to adhere to them.

Finally, you'll also see an occasional UNIX command. As a rule, type in the commands exactly as shown, with all the spaces and punctuation, and finish by pressing the Return key. And I've abbreviated the system prompt as the "%" character; Mac OS X uses a different default prompt for the Terminal command line, but the exact text may vary.

INTERNET-ENHANCED BOOK

While this book offers a concise description of building and maintaining an Internet information server, it cannot hope to stay current for long, given the speed at which the Internet is evolving. Providing a CD-ROM with a book sometimes helps because it provides more information than the book, but in this case it would become dated too quickly. Instead, this book is "Internet-enhanced." In effect, I've used the Internet as a book supplement, which can be updated continuously and made available to you long after the book has been published.

The book itself summarizes the reasons to establish an information server and shows how to establish and maintain that server. It contains many pointers—in the form of Web resources—to additional sources of information and to software that you will need. Those pointers are also available on a Web server at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), a national laboratory for computational science and engineering. This Web site serves two purposes.

First, you don't have to type these URLs each time you wish to visit a site. You just have to add a single pointer to your Web browser's bookmarks list

From there you can locate the Web pointer you need.

Second, and more important, I can keep this Web-based list of pointers current. Thus, while a pointer in this book is considered the best reference at the time of writing, it may not be the best reference at the time of reading. However, you can get the current reference simply by connecting to the SDSC server. This is important, since Internet technology is changing more quickly than new editions of a book can be produced. Through the information server, I can regularly supplement the book with current information.

Why don't I put the whole book online and update that? Maybe that will work for future generations, but for now many folks, including me, like the feel of a book in our hands and are comfortable navigating that medium. If you are reading this in the bookstore, or from someone else's copy, at this point you may be thinking: Why buy the book when I can jot down the pointer above and read the Web site? You are welcome to do that, of course. However, the combination of book and Internet server will provide the most useful and usable information.

You may also be thinking: How will Dave keep all the pointers to pertinent information and software current? In part, the answer is that you will help. There is a Reader's Corner accessible on the server for you to report pointers to sites that you think should be included in the handbook. I'll review these suggestions and, if appropriate, add them to the server.

Involving readers in the material they are reading, to the point where they begin to make their own contributions, is a very good use of the Internet. In fact, the Internet has supported many such projects, such as Perl, Mozilla, and others, not to mention the community of Mac OS shareware developers. The Internet has provided a communication channel between reader and author to enhance the quality and longevity of the book. In other words, the book is "Internet-enhanced."

SO FINALLY...

The Web has come a long way in a short time from its origin as a way for physicists to distribute experimental results and papers. While it may not be the greatest innovation since sliced bread, neither is it completely without its advantages. The Web has a lot of growing up to do, a lot of growing pains to overcome, and everyone who participates has a chance to guide its growth. I hope this book helps you make your contribution to the Web's future.

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