Book Review - Nginx Module Extension

I apparently do enough work with Nginx that people keep asking me to review things. In this case, Packt asked me to review another book called "Nginx Module Extension." Well, a decent module development book doesn't exist, so I'm rather excited to dive in!

While Reading

Instead of just a summary when I'm done, I want to also include my reactions while reading.

Table of Contents

I hope I'm missing something, but it seems that the first 82 pages of this book are focused on teaching you the basics of Nginx. That doesn't leave much for discussing the actual module development. My assumption from the cover was that we finally had a book explaining module development. I guess another book that explains getting started would be okay.


The preface mentions that:

This book is for advanced users such as system administrators and developers who want to extend Nginx's functionality using its highly flexible add-on system. We look at the existing modules available and how to compile and install them, along with practical examples of how to configure them with focus on optimizing the configuration. It also goes beyond what is available off the shelf and teaches you how to write your own module, in case something is not available from the big Nginx open source community.


This book is intended for advanced users, system administrators, and developers of Nginx modules.

Okay, so we actually can expect to dive into something. Maybe module development within Nginx is much easier than I assumed. That would be a nice surprise.

I do enjoy that the progression of this book is from absolute basics to in depth and advanced usage.

Chapters 1-4

The first chapter briefly goes over installing Nginx on every OS I've heard of it being installed on. Some of this was taken directly from the Nginx wiki which is an excellent source of information. It's a relatively simple and easy to follow chapter that gets through the basics.

The second chapter discusses configuring the events and main modules.

Chapter three explains configuration schematics and directives. It gets pretty thorough without being boring. For a beginner, the information provided here is very useful.

Chapter four is the logical continuation of third party modules. This chapter takes a long time to explain the use of a small number of third party modules. The modules explained are useful and the explanation is thorough, but I would have preferred seeing an overview of finding modules, documentation, and usage.

In the end, I'm calling these sections the basic intro to Nginx. That would be great if we weren't over half way through the book already.

Chapters 5

This dives into the very basic structure of a module. It also references files within the Nginx source that provide further information about development. This chapter takes a pretty quick dive into development of modules and explains many different points of interaction between Nginx core and the module.

Chapter 6

Nope, that's it. We're done. After chapter 5, we have the index followed by some advertising of more Nginx books by this publisher.

After Reading

I enjoyed the basics of this book. It takes you through compiling and installing Nginx as well as getting it configured properly. It does a solid job of making you have a clue what's going on.

Unfortunately, the actual module development, the title of the book, is very lacking. It's just a pile of details to get you started and then abruptly ends.

If the author added some more chapters to bring the development part together and expand on initial concepts, this could have been an excellent book. If you're looking for a basic intro to Nginx book, skip chapter five and get this. If you want to dive into developing Nginx modules, this isn't the book for you.