[techbooks] REVIEW: "The Internet Book", Douglas Comer
- BKINTBOK.RVW 981025
"The Internet Book", Douglas Comer, 1997, 0-13-890161-9
%A Douglas Comer dec@...
%C 113 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
%I Prentice Hall
%O (515) 284-6751 FAX (515) 284-2607
%P 327 p.
%T "The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know About Computer
Networking and How the Internet Works, second edition"
It is difficult to find books which give some background to the
Internet. Most guides assume that readers are either already
thoroughly familiar with computer communications, or are uninterested.
The history of the Internet often vaguely mentions military or
government projects without giving much idea of the problems which
needed solving. Given the growth in computer networking, a reference
is needed which lies between non-explanations ("This computer is
connected to that computer and they talk to each other") and the
TCP/IP programming manuals.
This book fills a lot of those gaps. After an initial introduction to
the current state of the Internet, chapters two through six give a
very simple introduction to data communications and the need therefor.
Those who have any kind of technical communications background may
find the explanations a touch simplistic. On the other hand, I have
frequently found that, even among the computer elite,
telecommunications is a specialty and mystery area. With such rapid
Internet growth, and for those who need some level of explanation
without getting beyond their technical depth, this is likely to be
very useful. It's easily readable. (It's also accurate.) Chapters
seven to ten explain the drive for, and growth of, the Internet
including excellent explanations of "why". The basic underlying
concepts of the Internet protocols are covered in chapters eleven to
seventeen, before nine chapters describe the primary application level
tools of the system. These sections are written at a conceptual
level, dealing with what the various tools can do, rather than the
minutiae of what button to push to get a specific program to do it.
This approach ensures that the book will be relevant in all
situations, and will not go out of date quickly. A concluding chapter
ties it all together with a look at both the benefits and some of the
problems of the vast "digital library."
This is an important addition to the library of Internet references.
I heartily recommend it to those involved in network training, both as
a resource, and as insurance that you truly understand what you are
teaching. To date, the primary source material for the study of the
development of the Internet, aside from the RFCs (Requests For
Comments) themselves, has been the "Internet System Handbook" (cf.
BKINTSYS.RVW), but it tends to be written at a technical or academic
level. For those at the non-technical level who are wondering what
the heck the Internet is (and one of Comer's anecdotes points out the
hilarious misconceptions that are abroad), and what it all means, this
is your book.
(Once again, I must declare a bias in regard to this book. I am
mentioned in the acknowledgements, although my "contribution" to the
book was simply to review an early draft of the first edition. An
excerpt from my review of the first edition also appears in the cover
blurbs. Nonetheless, I can honestly say that I have not found any
other book that explains the concepts and principles behind the
Internet as well as this one. With the passing of the years some of
my "top four" Internet picks; "The Internet Navigator" [cf.
BKINTNAV.RVW], "Finding it on the Internet" [cf. BKFNDINT.RVW], and
"Zen and the Art of the Internet" [cf. BKZENINT.RVW]; have become,
while still valuable, less immediately relevant. This text is still,
and perhaps increasingly, important.)
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1994, 1998 BKINTBOK.RVW 981025
rslade@... rslade@... robertslade@... p1@...
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