Windows Server Hacks
Windows Server Hacks, O'Reilly's latest addition to their rapidly expanding Hacks series, should more accurately be titled myITforum.com's Windows Server 2000 Administration Using VB Scripts and System Registry Keys. Granted, that's not a very catchy title, but that's what the book is really about.
A majority of the Hacks series "hacks," most of which the respective authors have posted on http://myITforum.com, consist of VBS admin scripts ranging from five lines to five pages. After reading this book I estimate about 20% of the tips will be used by a minority of the Windows serving population, about 40% will be immediately picked up by the Windows power admin community, and the remaining 40% will be adopted by those who have been previously agitated and befuddled by Windows Server administration.
The book advertises "100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools" spanning all critical aspects of Windows Server administration. A third of the book is devoted to Active Directory and User Management, with the remainder of the book covering Networking Services, File and Print, Deployment, Security, Patch Management, and Backup and Recovery tips. Like many of O'Reilly's Hacks series, the tips are clear and succinct.
The material most relevant to ASP.NET developers is found in Chapter Six: IIS Hacks. Most small to mid-size operations relying on Windows technology to publicly serve their content and business processes to the world will appreciate the lessons learned from the tips provided in this chapter. And because most ASP.NET developers in these situations are also likely to be the system administrator (or at the very least have day-to-day interaction with such a designated person), procedures such as backing up, mapping, restoring, and even hacking the IIS Metabase will likely save someone's sanity.
Another gem from Chapter Six is a tip on how to execute other Web application servers on the same machine without Port 80 conflicts via disabling socket pooling. For shops running both JSPs and ASPs, this tip is a keeper. Unfortunately, the IIS Hacks chapter doesn't touch on application server optimization, triggers, or other resources. Instead, it defers readers to Microsoft's IIS Resource Kit and its contributing author Chris Crowe's http://www.iisfaq.com Web site.
With the code and a handful of sample hacks from the book freely available for download at http://hacks.oreilly.com/pub/ht/92, Windows admins might question the book's value. However, while the site does offer code snippets, understanding the reasoning behind the code's logic can be most effectively deduced by reading the book. With that in mind, Windows Server Hacks is a bargain for the .NET developer charged with the additional role of system administrator.
- Mike Riley
Title: Windows Server Hacks
Author: Mitch Tulloch
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
Book Web Site: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/winsvrhks/
Page Count: 358 pages