Simon Willison’s Weblog


In praise of Apache documentation

2nd March 2004

I spent much of today upgrading a distinctly hairy Apache 1.3 server to Apache 2.0 as part of a routine OS upgrade. It certainly wasn’t plain sailing—I still have a few crinkles to iron out—but that’s more down to the weirdness of the existing configuration than any problems with Apache 2.

Apache 2 is a beautifully designed piece of software. The documentation is superb—the migration guide proved invaluable but the real gem was the directive quick reference. Armed with the quick reference and Firefox’s Type Ahead Find the previously inpenetrable httpd.conf file becomes a living tutorial on the wild and wonderful ways of Apache configuration. A wise old sysadmin once told me that the best way of learning Linux is to ls /bin and run man <command> for every command in there—then do the same thing for /sbin, then /usr/bin and so on until you run out of things to read. The same appears to be true of Apache configuration directives.

This is In praise of Apache documentation by Simon Willison, posted on 2nd March 2004.

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