I read a lot. Not much literature and novels as unfortunately those seem to suffer under my more professional reading habits. I read lots of technical articles, white papers, blog posts and specifications. It's part of what I do to keep up to date with the things happening in the CS field. But in part I also read all kinds of stuff to gain a broader understanding of our profession.
Recently I read the bulk of Roy Thomas Fielding's thesis Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures in which he introduces the principles of REST. As with any thesis it is a bit too abstract for my taste, but it did introduce me somewhat better to the background and theory behind REST.
Aside from that, I made one stunning discover when I read about Fielding's involvement in the creation of the Apache HTTP server:
- At the time, the most popular HTTP server (httpd) was the public domain software developed by Rob McCool at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (NCSA). However, development had stalled after Rob left NCSA in mid-1994, and many webmasters had developed their own extensions and bug fixes that were in need of a common distribution. A group of us created a mailing list for the purpose of coordinating our changes as "patches" to the original source. In the process, we created the Apache HTTP Server Project
Brilliant! In all my years of knowing the Apache web server and the brand that was created around the Apache name, I never realized where it came from.
The Apache website itself has this to say about it:
- The name 'Apache' was chosen from respect for the Native American Indian tribe of Apache, well-known for their superior skills in warfare strategy and their inexhaustible endurance. It also makes a cute pun on "a patchy web server" -- a server made from a series of patches -- but this was not its origin.