The open source community has delivered an extraordinary range of technologies for web development. The most widely used are often referred to by the acronym "LAMP": Linux, Apache, MySQL, and -- you choose -- either Perl or PHP. Now, there's a book that offers easy introductions to all of them, as well as related tools that make them even more powerful.
Open Source Development with LAMP starts with a simple explanation of web development itself, then covers "just enough" of each technology to get you rolling comfortably. For example, you'll learn just enough Apache configuration, and just enough Linux (navigating filesystems, setting environment variables, basic security precautions, and the like). In the MySQL chapter, you'll create simple databases, then learn the basic SQL commands for working with them. (Later, you'll learn to write CGI scripts that integrate with those databases.)
After a practical introduction to Perl scripting, longtime *nix hackers James Lee and Brent Ware cover three powerful tools for Perl-based web development. The first: mod_perl, a complete Perl interpreter that's embedded into Apache. Mod_perl lets you run Perl-based CGI programs faster, and customize every phase of Apache's processing, from request and authentication through logging.
Later, Lee and Ware introduce Embperl, which lets you execute server-side programs by embedding Perl code into HTML files; and Mason, for building pages from shared, reusable Perl components -- solving problems from caching to site maintenance.
There's also a full chapter on WML: not the failed Wireless Markup Language but Ralf Engelschall's newer Website META Language for creating and maintaining complex static sites with a consistent look and feel. Finally, for those who prefer the other "P," there's a hands-on introduction to PHP, with its nifty native support for MySQL connectivity, PDF generation, and email response.
Whether you're new to open source web development or you've used some of these tools but not others, Open Source Development with LAMP is a great survey of the landscape. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.