In this book, we introduce you to the pillars of LAMP ”Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl and PHP, with mod_perl, Embperl, Mason, and WML tossed in for good measure. We are biting off a lot with this book, and this is what we intended to do. We want to cover as much ground as possible and present you with various approaches for programming a web site with Open Source products. The goal is to point out the part of each of these Open Source approaches that provides the most functionality.
Another goal is to make you aware of current techniques and standards: What is easily possible, what might be possible with more work, which tool is appropriate for which task. Just as important is how to discern the things you need from those you don't, or don't need just yet. Not least of all is how to do these things in as secure a fashion as possible. After all, you are opening up your box to the world with these techniques and should be wary of those with impure motives.
Based on experience, we believe that 80 percent of the utility of any complicated tool is the result of knowing 20 percent of the uses of that tool, whether that tool be software, hardware, mechanical, or electronic. Swiss Army knives are excellent and versatile tools, but most of the time, you just use the blade or the screwdriver.
The purpose of this book is to introduce you to that 20 percent ”the blade and the screwdriver ”that opens up the most functionality, and to make you aware of the remaining 80 percent so that you can use the other tools when appropriate.
And to teach you to not use the blade as a screwdriver.