Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Beej's Guide to Network Programming (beej.us)
333 points by nnain on March 29, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 44 comments

Oh boy, this one brings me back. I can't tell you how many times I read this guide back in the day. Beej was the bomb when it came to network programming. Another great resource for network programming is http://www.madwizard.org/programming/tutorials/netcpp/ which is aimed more at Windows users. Failing that, there's the classic Unix Network Programming Vol 1 and 2 which gives a good outline of what to expect.

As it turns out, there are some really subtle aspects of network programming and these guides tend to cover them well.

Same here. Mostly I would just read man pages and write code, but every so often there's something that only works if you know the proper incantation (call ordering or whatever) and Beej almost always had the right answer, with sample code.

Aw man I used his wonderful guides and examples all the way from middle school up through uni; I owe him a lot of my success to this day!

While we're sharing network programming guides, the Gaffer on Games guide on multiplayer networking is another great read http://gafferongames.com/networking-for-game-programmers/

For game network programming, the Source Multiplayer Networking guide is a fantastic high level write-up of how modern games use prediction to compensate for latency:


Haven't come across this before and it looks like a really valuable resource and since it's licensed under Creative Commons, I took the freedom to rehost it on IPFS here: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmeZJ6QQ4gztfrNDFHfBtBi4KGv6w87PcVKqqJK...

Another question for all the folks here at HN, is there more resources like this that would be considered as "definitive guide" as many mentioned, related to networking or distributed systems?

I wouldn't call this a "definitive" guide. Because there's a lot that's not covered. I mean it's great and helped me through the projects in a networking course, but I had to look elsewhere for a lot of stuff like multi threading.

For similar content I think this is something we've lost with the modern Internet. The web used to be full of people posting tutorials and how to's. Seems like hobby and indie game dev generated a lot of this type of content. I remember flipcode and gamedev.net had a lot of material on a lot of subjects (including networking) in their article and tutorials sections. These are probably archived somewhere. Edit ok look like it's been updated since 2004, I'll have to read it again!

I'm not sure how you arrived at this conclusion. As someone who started learning to code around 2004, I remember exactly what you are talking about. There were tons of tutorial websites (I liked spoono, anyone remember that?), tutorial aggregators (good-tutorials, pixel2life), and programming communities (phpforums, neverside, sitepoint). I learned coding by following tutorials to create an example project, then modifying features to my liking. It was nice, but there was a lot to be desired, and if you ran into an esoteric bug you pretty much had no option but to post to some random phpBB board or IRC channel and hope for a response. StackOverflow and GitHub didn't even exist!

It seems that nowadays it's easier than ever to learn to code, with many different resources and communities at the disposal of the newbie. StackOverlow is amazing and 99% of the time you google some esoteric error message you'll find a SO post; no need to post to forums or ask in IRC. GitHub is full of open source projects, tutorials, and example code. If you prefer learning with videos, there's tons of open source material. And in terms of guides "like this," there are thousands of new posts every day across the blogosphere by developers sharing their experience. Not to mention many old pieces of content still exist, the OP being just one example.

I really think that access to educational technical content has exploded in the past ten years, and I completely disagree with your conclusion that the state of this content was any better in 2004 than it is now.

> you pretty much had no option but to post to some random phpBB board or IRC channel and hope for a response. StackOverflow and GitHub didn't even exist!

Usenet baby, Usenet. Still alive today although doomed beyond any optimistic hope.

Yep. And for those who can afford it: SafariBooksOnline is just too awesome to learn new skills.

Comes up so often, we've practically run out of things to say about it.


I had missed it so far, glad to catch it this time ;)

what happened 7 years ago? break of 3 years not being posted

We do not speak of the Greater Beej Occlusion.

Was about to say, this gets posted every few months.

Easy karma!

Like ur mom!

It really is the definitive guide. I remember reading it when I was doing my Computer Science degree back in 1996.

Same for me but around 2003 :)

It was probably the best thing to read to quickly start learning sockets!

Same for me as well, around 2012 :)

Same for me as well, around 2017.:)

Same here in 2012. It's quite amazing how many of us this guide has impacted

Seems to be a pretty common experience. Same guide, same course, same year.

looks at username

Oh. Same university! Ha.

Yup, this one and UNIX Network Programming where staples of my early software career.

I took a course on Linux Network Programming in college; at the time, my instructor said that while he loved that book, he felt David Kerrisk's Linux Programming Interface [1] had come to supersede it. I really like the latter book, though I haven't had much call to use it in the 'real world'. Really well-written and with great C++ based examples. Pity it's so damned heavy...

[1] https://www.nostarch.com/tlpi

I just found this I am reading this now in 2017

This is a very entertaining guide on socket programming that I came across about 10 years ago. An excerpt from the guide: Stream sockets are reliable two-way connected communication streams. If you output two items into the socket in the order "1, 2", they will arrive in the order "1, 2" at the opposite end. They will also be error-free. I'm so certain, in fact, they will be error-free, that I'm just going to put my fingers in my ears and chant la la la la if anyone tries to claim otherwise.

Last year, I decided to read the recently published newer version of this guide that describes how to write code that works for both IPv4 and IPv6.

An archive of examples and experimental code that I wrote while reading this book: https://github.com/susam/lab/tree/master/c/beej-guide-to-net...

It's honestly kind of nice to have multiple sources treating the same material a different way. This, Stevens' UNIX Network Programming, and Kerrisk's The Linux Programming Interface are all a student should need to get started with socket programming.

You beat me to the Richard Stevens book. Truly the comprehensive guide. Everyone should have it on their shelf.

I learned sockets from Beej's and Stevens. They're a very synergetic combination.

I remember reading through the original version around my first year as an engineering student at Chico state around 2004. Only later did I realized that this guide that I learned so much from was hosted on the Chico State engineering servers! somehow I overlooked the URL. I followed the trail and realized that Beej was an alumni from Chico as well and had some sort of group (I forget the name). I emailed him to see if it was still active and he responded but alas it was not. They were responsible for rigging up the the soda machine in the computer science department to the network and I believe you could check the current stock levels of the different soda types.

I recall reading this start to end, twice, around 2009. I read it again a few years ago as it had been updated to include things like references to libevent.

He also have other guides! This are old but gold guides! I learned C with his guides and also learned network with this one.

I learnt a lot of things from this book . Its a really good to start . (Around ~2007 if I am not wrong )

This reminds me of my networking class! I remember being provided Beej's Guide and it being indespensable. Still 8 years later when I need to verify something about networking I go look it up and make sure i am doing it right.

Brings back lots of memories - had it permanently open in my browser when I wrote a P2P file transfer / messenger app for a project about 10 years ago. Socket programming is so much fun :-)

Beej's is great. Crack it open every time I have to work with network sockets (on my third reliable UDP library now...).

I really liked Lincoln Stein's Network Programming with Perl. Excelent examples and clearly explained from the basics.

I am finding this guide very helpful. Are there guides for other Linux concepts just like this guide.

I just used this guide for my Network Programming class last fall. I love it so much.

This is classic -- one of the main reasons I started programming in C.

I read it over and over again 15 years ago, great resource.


On one of the previous comments argued that he would not could call Beej's work "a definitive guide". Fair enough but "classic" is very accurate.

I don't know why your response is graying but I hear you ... nostalgia! I miss the time when this classic was magic.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact