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From Rich Bowen <rbo...@rcbowen.com>
Subject Vhosts docs
Date Sat, 15 Jun 2002 20:58:19 GMT
A very large percentage of the questions that we get on #apache deal
with virtual hosts, and a large number of people say that they have
tried to figure out what to do from the documentation, and could not
find what they needed. I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is
that confuses people about the vhosts docs, and I've come up with a few
different things. Most of it seems to be that people don't know the
right questions to ask, and the docs assume that they do. Part of it is
that the examples, while copious, are poorly labelled, and just
incomplete enough that people can't seem to get them working in a real
setting.

I have a few suggestions, and you can yell at me if you think that they
are a bad idea. This is mostly train of thought, so forgive the
scattered-ness.

1) Phrase the examples in a little bit more of a q&a format. "I have one
IP address, and want host three web sites on my server. What should I
do?" This is more the format in which people are thinking, and the
example names like "Simple name-based vhosting" and "More complicated
name-based vhosts" are just so much greek to them.

2) Rearrange the list of docs such that stuff like details.html is at
the very end. Nobody reads that doc, and the few that do, mostly don't
understand it. (Note, there's a <pre>formatted table in there that does
not display correctly in Mozilla, and so it is even more confusing than
it needs to be.

3) In examples.html, link to more detailed configuration file examples -
perhaps full configuration snips that people can just Include into their
configuration file, and have them work. (Aside: I'd kinda like to have
an examples/ subdir in conf/ that contained things like this, but that
requires a little more thought, as I'm not entirely sure what would go
in there.)

4) Remove the detailed discussion of i) ServerPath and ii) using
mod_rewrite for vhost matching. i) because nobody uses this feature, and
almost nobody really understand it. (Yeah, I know, it is not
complicated, but people who started using the web post-1997 can't seem
to understand why this would be needed, and find the explanation
confusing.) ii) because it mentions several times that this is for
Apache 1.3.6 or earlier.

5) mod_vhost_alias is a very cool module, and should get a little more
air time. Someone on #apache just had a nice idea for providing
username.hostname.com for all users on a system. mod_vhost_alias and a
little DNS wildcard entry are ideal for this. Perhaps some examples of
this in the doc would be good.

Anyways, I'll be tinkering in the vhosts docs for the next few days, so
if anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know.


-- 
Rich Bowen - rbowen@rcbowen.com
http://kenya.rcbowen.com/


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