This book's target audience is the person who wants to get an interactive database-based web site up and running without spending a whole bunch of money on a large stack of books and software. That person might be a technically competent Linux user who is not necessarily a Perl or a CGI whiz; a graphic designer, with a technical bent, who wants to build a web site without becoming a certified computer whiz; or an MCSE who has heard rumors that there might be another way to do things.
Up to now, these folks would have had to purchase four or five thick books and wade through them, picking out the knowledge needed to accomplish necessary tasks . It's likely they would accomplish this in a less than optimal way, picking up some things and missing others, revamping and redoing as they learn new things without being aware of the security considerations necessary to keep their site and computer safe. The goal of this book is to summarize much of the information about Open Source in one place and to do so in a manner that will get the prospective web developer up and running safely and efficiently , including pointers to other resources when it becomes necessary to have more knowledge than is provided here.
Our target audience, ideally , would have some familiarity with Unix, some sort of modern programming language (C, FORTRAN, Perl, Pascal, C++, Java ”most anything will do), and HTML. The scope here, and the sheer constraints on its size, force us to limit explanations and assume some background knowledge; we touch on a lot of things, enough so that you ought to be able to ask the right questions on a search engine. If you don't have any Unix experience, or if you are not a seasoned programmer, this book can still be useful, with motivation and, perhaps, the purchase of a few other computer books.