HTTP: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: September 2002
Pages: 658

Behind every web transaction lies the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) --- the language of web browsers and servers, of portals and search engines, of e-commerce and web services. Understanding HTTP is essential for practically all web-based programming, design, analysis, and administration.

While the basics of HTTP are elegantly simple, the protocol's advanced features are notoriously confusing, because they knit together complex technologies and terminology from many disciplines. This book clearly explains HTTP and these interrelated core technologies, in twenty-one logically organized chapters, backed up by hundreds of detailed illustrations and examples, and convenient reference appendices. HTTP: The Definitive Guide explains everything people need to use HTTP efficiently -- including the "black arts" and "tricks of the trade" -- in a concise and readable manner.

In addition to explaining the basic HTTP features, syntax and guidelines, this book clarifies related, but often misunderstood topics, such as: TCP connection management, web proxy and cache architectures, web robots and robots.txt files, Basic and Digest authentication, secure HTTP transactions, entity body processing, internationalized content, and traffic redirection.

Many technical professionals will benefit from this book. Internet architects and developers who need to design and develop software, IT professionals who need to understand Internet architectural components and interactions, multimedia designers who need to publish and host multimedia, performance engineers who need to optimize web performance, technical marketing professionals who need a clear picture of core web architectures and protocols, as well as untold numbers of students and hobbyists will all benefit from the knowledge packed in this volume.

There are many books that explain how to use the Web, but this is the one that explains how the Web works. Written by experts with years of design and implementation experience, this book is the definitive technical bible that describes the "why" and the "how" of HTTP and web core technologies. HTTP: The Definitive Guide is an essential reference that no technically-inclined member of the Internet community should be without.

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oreillyHTTP: The Definitive Guide
 
4.8

(based on 6 reviews)

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

More than you'd expect

By active developer

from Romania

About Me Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    I have essentially bought the book for the human readable aspect of the HTTP protocol RFC, but for my surprise I got much more from it (partially due the fact that I didn't read the TOC before).

    Aside from all the pros I tagged, another interesting chapter of the book is the one about web crawlers and tips, tricks and pitfalls you may encounter/use in order to build good web crawlers.

    And what else can I say about its Appendixes, where I found the best written reference to HTTP statuses and headers.

    Five stars well deserved.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent: Easily the best reference on HTTP

    By jdruin

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    This book remains at the top of references on the subject of HTTP. The book was top-notch when released and has been aided by the fact that HTTP has not changed in any fundamental way for years.

    What sets this volume apart is the style. In essence, the book is really covering what is freely available in various RFCs covering HTTP, but the book explains the RFCs using 2 techniques that makes it easy to understand.

    First the HTTP specifications are put in context. The book covers how the HTTP spec is used in conjunction with TCP/IP, the Internet, web servers, proxies, SSL, and networks.

    Second, the book explains the details progressively from the basics to difficult topics. This allows readers new to HTTP to learn how it works but there is still values to readers who are more advanced.

    There is no part of HTTP that is not covered. Most is covered in detail.

    This is a must-have for web developers.

     
    5.0

    HTTP: The Definitive Guide Review

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    If Sid likes it, 'nuf said. I'm buying it!

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    HTTP: The Definitive Guide Review

    By Alex Belt of the Columbia Java Users Group

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    As its name states, this book is a definitive guide. It provides in depth coverage of all important HTTP information in use today, ranging from the basic communications protocol, to cache control, proxies, and security mechanisms. It's extremely well written in clear and easy to understand terms.

    The organization of the book is one reason I gave it only 4 tarsiers instead of 5. Material on proxies, and especially cache control, was spread through the book, rather than being located in any one area. While the basics of these are important to understanding some of the considerations in writing an HTTP application, a different organizational structure may have suited the material better.

    This book is a great teaching and reference book for learning HTTP, but if you are not planning on running your own HTTP server, especially a proxy or caching server, a lot of this book is overkill. I'm sure I'll be referring to it in the future for various other kinds of HTTP information.

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    HTTP: The Definitive Guide Review

    By Sid Sidner

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    I've fooled around with HTTP for years, but never really quite became an expert. I've read much of the RFC, an excellent spec, but serious as cancer - it helps if you know 95% of what you're reading and are just going for the 95%.

    Well, this book is where you get that first 95% and is just fantastic. I really don't need to be an HTTP expert anymore, but I can't put it down. It's like The Secrets Of The Universe revealed. HTTP means many things to many people and next to TCP/IP is probably one of the most implemented protocols on the Internet. I now understand about historical versions of browsers, servers, and protocols. I now understand proxies, and smart routers, and authentication systems and reverse proxies.

    This book is super-readable, with clear, NON-TRIVIAL examples, and tips. The authors even put up a Web site and show you how to telnet to it, to watch what its Apache Web server responds with.

    I wish I could write this well!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    HTTP: The Definitive Guide Review

    By George Woolley

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly HTTP: The Definitive Guide:

    An excellent book.

    If you want to learn more about HTTP, its core technologies,

    and the context in which it exits, this book will likely serve you well.

    I used it for that.

    The book also helped me to learn more about bots.

    The book provides both perspective and useful specifics.

    See details.

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