The proliferation of books about technology over the past several years and their rising cost have made it difficult to invest wisely in such books. Did you know that more than 400 book titles relate to Microsoft .NET? Microsoft IIS 6.0, which has officially been shipping for approximately 1 month, is already the subject of four or five books, which are easily findable on bookstore Web sites such as Amazon.com. The bad thing about Amazon.com is that anyone can publish a review of any book on the book's page on the Amazon site. Some of these reviews might be entertaining, but most are untrustworthy because they don't come from technology professionals.

Here's a hot tip on a new, fantastic book about IIS 6.0 that I professionally and personally attest you can't go wrong with. The book's official name is "Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Server 2003 Deployment Kit, Deploying Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, A Resource Kit Publication." But call it by its common name, "IIS 6.0 Deployment Guide." Published on May 27, the guide offers 425 pages of end-to-end IIS 6.0 coverage that's written in "how-to" style. And here's the best part: It's a free download. In fact, this book lives only in electronic form as a Microsoft Word document--you'll need to print it if you want to read it on paper. You can download the guide in its entirety or in sections from: http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F31A5FD5-03DB-46D2-9F34-596EDD039EB9&displaylang=en#filelist .

The guide is organized by introduction, seven chapters, two appendixes, a glossary, and an index. The chapters go like this:

Chapter 1: Overview of Deploying IIS 6.0 Chapter 2: Deploying ASP.NET Applications in IIS 6.0 Chapter 3: Securing Web Sites and Applications Chapter 4: Ensuring Application Availability Chapter 5: Upgrading an IIS Server to IIS 6.0 Chapter 6: Migrating IIS Web Sites to IIS 6.0 Chapter 7: Migrating Apache Web Sites to IIS 6.0

The chapter content is focused yet thorough, and well written. Of particular interest is Appendix A, which is a comprehensive list (approximately 70 items) of common IIS 6.0 procedures with practical documentation. Each procedure and its documentation averages about a page in length. The Word document containing this chapter is worth saving in your desktop for reference. When I need to find a how-to procedure in IIS 6.0, I'll look here before I search the Internet.

If you read and absorb this book cover-to-cover, you'll be an IIS 6.0 expert. To me, that kind of value is worth far more than you'll pay for this book. I applaud Microsoft for releasing this publication to the Web instead of through Microsoft Press. Clearly, the company's motivation is driven by its desire for widespread IIS 6.0 adoption, but since this guide is such a valuable reference, I doubt anyone will have a problem with that.