REVIEW - Quality Web Systems - Performance, Security, and Usability


Quality Web Systems - Performance, Security, and Usability


Elfriede Dustin, Jeff Rashka, Douglas McDiarmid




Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)




Christopher Hill


August 2003



This book uses the ubiquitous bookstore to illustrate the issues raised, but it starts where most of the others stop. No descriptions of HTML/XML here, but comprehensive checklists for building a web site that will survive the test of time.

Firstly there is an introduction to RSI, not the hand injury, but Requirement Service Interface - yet another 'use case' analysis method that has a goal-oriented approach of describing the use case in terms of work steps.

The section on Security covers the problems of Basic Authentication and custom forms. The need to verify and check EVERYTHING that comes from the Internet - including length of responses (to avoid overruns), character sets (to avoid SQL or shell hijacking). The authors give a wide-ranging tally of defensive approaches against the usual web site weaknesses.

Performance and scalability are next considered; what are the options, how to test those configurations. Avoiding common pitfalls: - test early, test on the real hardware, test with realistic data sizes. Browser incompatibility is covered in some depth: - rendering HTML and CSS; the 'joys' of client side scripting; Plug-ins and Java Applets. That is the nice thing about standards - so many to choose from! Finally usability and accessibility are addressed. Useful check lists to help avoid the major problems and to enable a wide range of people to access your site.

This book is well written and clearly presented, with many references at the end of each chapter. If you look after a web site with more than a dozen pages, you ought to have a look at this book. A useful collection of precautions to aid the production of quality web sites. Recommended.Non-Programming

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.