Techniques for more powerful websites

Better and Safer

New tools for the web appear every day. In this issue, we round up some promising technologies, including Apache's Suexec module, the new WS-Addressing standard, the Helma application server, the Perlbal web server, and microformats.

By Joe Casad

The web isn't just for HTML anymore. Developers have come to depend on web technology as an infrastructure for sophisticated custom applications. Meanwhile, the Internet isn't getting any safer, and new intrusion techniques have led to new demands for better protection.

At the same time, website owners are asking for more versatility and a richer range of features for turning ordinary data into vivid expressions of meaning. In this month's cover story, we will examine some tools for building a safer and more efficient web.

First we will take a look at how you can tighten security on your own website with Apache's Suexec module, a component that lets you set up web scripts to run in a configurable security context.

Then we'll show you a new standard known as WS-Addressing that could save you days of programming time by offering a standard method for asynchronous response to web messages.

Next you will learn why JavaScript has finally arrived, and we'll show you how to put the powers of JavaScript to work on the server side using the Helma application server.

We will also take you on a tour of Perlbal, a load balancing, proxy serving web server that will help you make the most of your hardware resources. We will finish with a look at microformats - special tags that can help you add meaning to web data.

Whether you're a web programmer, a web administrator, or a web user, you will find something useful in this look at recent web innovations.

We hope you enjoy this month's Web Wizardry cover story.