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The Definitive Guide to Apache mod_rewrite
by Rich Bowen

1 edition
February 2006
160 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, July 2006
  (9 of 10)

"mod_rewrite, frequently called the "Swiss Army Knife" of URL manipulation, is one of the most popular -- and least understood -- modules in the Apache Web Server's bag of tricks." This opening sentence of the book makes it clear why there is a need for it: the module can be used for so many purposes, that it's very easy to misuse it.

The book starts by explaining how to install and configure mod_rewrite, and then gives a brief introduction into regular expressions, which are crucial to its functionality. The main part of the book is taken up by explaining the directives and options which mod_rewrite offers, and plenty of examples showing how common tasks faced by web administrators and application developers can be accomplished.

The author -- a member of the Apache Software Foundation -- is very knowledgeable, and writes in a very light prose that's readily accessible even to readers not up to speed on web arcana. A huge plus is the fact that at every turn he shows how the same or a similar effect can be achieved without mod_rewrite, and weighs the benefits and drawbacks; often he recommends using a different tool when using mod_rewrite would not be the best choice. Thus the reader learns a good deal about the Apache Web Server and several other modules along the way. At the end, this reviewer had a very good idea of what the module can do, and how it should be used.

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