Building Scalable Web Sites
Building, Scaling, and Optimizing the Next Generation of Web Applications
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: May 2006
Pages: 352

Learn the tricks of the trade so you can build and architect applications that scale quickly--without all the high-priced headaches and service-level agreements associated with enterprise app servers and proprietary programming and database products. Culled from the experience of the lead developer, Building Scalable Web Sites offers techniques for creating fast sites that your visitors will find a pleasure to use.

Creating popular sites requires much more than fast hardware with lots of memory and hard drive space. It requires thinking about how to grow over time, how to make the same resources accessible to audiences with different expectations, and how to have a team of developers work on a site without creating new problems for visitors and for each other.

Presenting information to visitors from all over the world

Integrating email with your web applications

Planning hardware purchases and hosting options to have as much as you need without breaking your wallet

Partitioning and distributing databases to support large datasets and simultaneous transactions

Monitoring your applications to find and clear bottlenecks

* Providing services APIs and using services from other providers to increase your site's reach and capabilities

Whether you're starting a small web site with hopes of growing big or you already have a large system that needs maintenance, you'll find Building Scalable Web Sites to be a library of ideas for making things work.

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Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


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oreillyBuilding Scalable Web Sites

(based on 4 reviews)

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Reviewed by 4 customers

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(5 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


It is not interesting at all

By dmarsentev

from Moscow, Russia

About Me Developer, Educator

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand


  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice

Comments about oreilly Building Scalable Web Sites:

I found a lot of evident simple sentences in this book, but I expected to find detailed technical explanations how to succeed in scalability.

I expected to find a lot of tools and methods in this book, but I found just common words.
Yes, there are good and right words, but almost all of them are evident or out of date.

If you have some experience in web development and if you read good blogs, forums and so on, you can painlessly skip this book.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)



By Chris

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Building Scalable Web Sites:

This book should be standard issue for anyone getting into web development, or anyone who has been in it for years. Cal runs you through many practical and realistic solutions to almost every problem you'll experience as your site grows, and helps you see the bigger picture when approaching any new project.

It is also a fairly easy read... he doesn't throw technical terms at you without first explaining what they mean, and he is not condescending but rather humble when explaining his own experiences and is eager to expose his thought process as well.

This book will empower you to be a better developer and brings back the excitement you felt when you had your very first "Hello World" program up and running.


A must read for those in the web space

By Bill D

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Building Scalable Web Sites:

When I first started reading this book I had certain expectations about the technical level of the content. I was expecting to have a lot of information about webservers, and load balancers, an d database clusters, and maybe software architecture.

I was pleasantly surprised as it covers all those things and more.

First as I've done in several of my reviews let me list the chapter titles.

1. Introduction

2. Web Application Architecture

3. Development Environments

4. i18n, l10n, and Unicode

5. Data Integrity and Security

6. Email

7. Remote Services

8. Bottlenecks

9. Scaling Web Applications

10. Statistics, Monitoring, and Alerting

11. APIs

I would recommend this book to any Web 1.0,2.0,3.0 startup trying to get ready to write their first line of code, well before that even.

Chapter three will be a review to many who read it, assuming they have good software engineering practices. Use revision control, use bug tracking, have a simple and repeatable build. This is really a good chapter which really applies to any kind of software you might write.

A general statement about this book, in numerous places where there are multiple options for tools to use, some free, some which cost real money, the author makes a list of the popular alternatives, gives pros and cons and a ball park for cost.

Chapter four, well if you don't know anything about internationalization (i18n), localization(l10n) and/or unicode, this chapter will resolve that problem. These efforts can introduce complexity into your system, and this chapter and frankly many place later in the book continue to point out the issues which can come up when dealing with not ascii characters.

Well I could write a chapter about each chapter, but then you wouldn't buy the book, which you should if you want to know about the topic.

I may even read it a second time.


Ready, Set, Scale!

By joshSVUG

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Building Scalable Web Sites:

I found the book very informative and for the most part easy to read. The book can be used as a compass for building large scalable LAMP web sites but it shouldn't be regarded as gospel.

The book is a fine foundation but if you poke around you may find other "best practices". One example, the section discussing "Mitigating SQL Injection Attacks" one can argue against granting the delete privilege to the application user. If the application user can't delete, use a logical/soft delete by setting a flag on the records to be deleted, this way you also gain an "undelete" option. To physically purge the data, have a separate user/cron job that does so (segregation of duties).

The one odd thing I found is that it feels as if the book can't decide if it's a tutorial (bug tracking/source control) or chronicles of the "Flicker Way" (processing email from mobile devices).

All in all, a book to own.

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