Author: Kyle Loudon
Publisher: Yahoo Press, 2010
Pros: Good coverage of fairly standard ideas
Cons: Not really about the issues of "big" web apps
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
What do you think a large web application is? The picture of the dog on the front cover of this book seems to say it all. They are huge, fuzzy and lumbering - and you are going to need help looking after them.
This particular book attempts to provide you with some help but it is probably going to send you off in the wrong direction. It covers the sorts of basic design ideas that you need when tackling any project - big or not, web or not. It tells you that you need to be modular and preferably object-oriented.
Later we get some fairly long example PHP code to generate pages and to demonstrate how the ideas work but... if you really are going to create a large application you probably wouldn't start from scratch. There are frameworks that you can adopt which provide the structure that a large web application needs.
There probably is a book yet to be written on building large web applications but it wouldn't start from a consideration of the lowest-level technologies. Instead it would focus on the overall architectures needed to deliver scalability and manageability. It would need to discuss hosting options such as web farms and cloud implementations. It would need to discuss the relationships between different server components - the web server, the database server, the authentication server and so on. None of these topics are discussed in any detail and, although the last chapter is on performance, there is no real discussion of scalability.