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New book explains zero configuration networking

Dec 16, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

O'Reilly is shipping a book about technology that makes computer programs and gadgets “just work.” Zero Configuration Networking: the Definitive Guide covers the zeroconf protocol, also called Rendezvous, and later Bonjour, by Apple. The books authors are Bonjour designer Stuart Cheshire and technical writer Daniel Steinberg.

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Zeroconf is an IETF standard for the automated configuration of computer networks and networked peripherals. It was developed by Apple, and a draft zeroconf standard underpinned Apple's Rendezvous technology, which was released under an open source license in September of 2002. Rendezvous was later re-named “Bonjour,” and used in Apple products such as iTunes, SubEthaEdit, and various printers.

According to authors Cheshire and Steinberg, zeroconf allows engineers to build self-configuring devices and applications, such as chat clients that find other people on a LAN, printing software that automatically finds printers, and file-sharing software that automatically finds shared resources. Printers, cameras, PDAs, and music players can also use the technology to work “out of the box,” without requiring user configuration, the authors say. Zeroconf technology is available on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, BSD Unix, and other operating systems.

The new book covers zeroconf's underlying components, including local-link addressing, multicast DNS, and DNS service discovery. It also convers zeroconf programming, including APIs for C, Java, and Python. The Python API was developed using SWIG, and zeroconf service discovery is available through the same API in Tcl, Perl, Scheme, and PHP, the authors note.

Cheshire and Steinberg state, “[Zeroconf] provides a foundation to enable hardware and software makers to produce great products.”


The 252-page book is available now direct from O'Reilly, priced at $40. A sample chapter on zeroconf C APIs is also available, here (PDF download).

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