With just a month left until its seventh birthday, everything curl has now surpassed this amazing milestone. The book now contains more than 100,000 words. Distributed over 883 sections. All written in glorious markdown.
Two years ago when we celebrated its 5th birthday, it was still this measly thin “pamphlet” of 72,000 words. It has grown by almost 40% over the last two years.
The average word length in the book is now 5.25 characters and all this is spread out over 14,900 lines (in the source markdowns).
63 individuals have had their commits merged. I have great help from people to polish off weird language and wrong English.
My ambition with this book remains the same: to document everything there is to tell about curl and libcurl from every aspect. Code, use, development, project, background, future, philosophy and more.
News from the last year for everything curl is that we have several CI jobs now that verify new contributions to make sure we don’t degrade too much. They check that:
we avoid some words (contractions and some other things) – basically my most common mistakes
markdown heading level sanity check
The spellcheck part can of course be a bit tedious for such a technical document but I realized that since I am such a sloppy writer I need that check. This has really reduced the inflow of PRs with spelling fixes.
These CI jobs makes the quality of the book much better even though it is a highly moving target.
As curl is a constantly evolving project that adds new features and changes things every now and then, there is also a constant stream of new things to add or update in the book.
Since I also want the book to work for readers that may very well run curl versions from several years ago, we need to keep that in mind and make sure to keep “old behavior” and details around for a while.
I’m saving my bigger summary for curl’s 24th birthday in March, but when reaching the end of a calendar year it feels natural and even fun to look back and highlight some of the things we accomplished and what happened during this particular lap around the sun. I decided to pick five areas to highlight.
This has been another great curl year and it has been my pleasure to serve this project working full time with it, and I intend to keep doing it next year as well.
Activities, contribution and usage have all grown. I don’t think there has ever before been a more curl year than 2021.
In 2021, the curl project beats all previous project records in terms of contribution. More than 180 individuals authored commits to the source code repository, out of more than 130 persons were first-time committers. Both numbers larger than ever before.
The number of authors per month was also higher than ever before and we end the year with a monthly average of 25 authors.
The number of committers who authored ten or more commits within a single year lands on 15 this year. A new record, up from the previous 13 in 2014 and 2017.
We end this year with the amazing number of more than 2,550 persons listed as contributors. We are also very close to reaching 1,000 committers. We are just a dozen authors away. Learn how to help us!
This year we introduced support for two new backends in curl: hyper and rustls. I suppose it is a sign of the times that both of them are written in Rust and could be a stepping stone into a future with more curl components written in memory safe languages.
We actually got an increase in number of CVEs reported in 2021, 13 separate ones, after previously having had a decreasing trend the last few years. To remind us that security is still crucial!
Technically we merged the first hyper code already in late 2020 but we’ve worked on it through 2021 and this has made it work almost on par with the native code now.
None of these two new backends are yet used or exercised widely yet in curl, but we are moving in that direction. Slowly but surely.
Also backend related, during 2021 we removed the default TLS library choice when building curl and instead push that decision to get made by the person building curl. It refuses to build unless a choice is made.
In September 2015 I started to write Everything curl. The book to cover all there is to know and learn about curl. The project, the command line tool and the library.
When I started out, I wrote a lot of titles and sub-titles that I figured should be covered and detailed. For those that I didn’t yet have any text written I just wrote TBD. Over time I thought of more titles so I added more TBDs all over – and I created myself a script that would list which files that had the most number of TBDs outstanding. I added more and more text and explanations over time, but the more content I added I often thought of even more things that were still missing.
It took until December 15, 2021 to erase the final TBD occurrence! Six years and three months.
Presently, everything curl consists of more than 81,000 words in 12,000 lines of text. Done using more than 1,000 commits.
There are and probably always will be details missing and text that can be improved and clarified, but all the sections I once thought out should be there now at least are present and covered! I trust that users will tell us what we miss, and as we continue to grow and develop curl there will of course pop up new things to add to the book.
In February 2021 I received a death threat by email. It is curl related because I was targeted entirely because my name is in the curl copyright statement and license and that is (likely) how the person found and contacted me. Months later, the person who sent me the threat apologized for his behavior.
It was something of a brutal awakening for me that reminded me with far too much clarity than I needed, that everything isn’t always just fun and games when people find my email address in their systems.
I filed a police report. I had a long talk with my wife. It shook my world there for a moment and it hinted of the abyss of darkness that lurk out there. I cannot say that it particularly changed my life or how I go about with curl development since then, but I think maybe it took away some of the rosy innocence out of the weird emails I get.
Not only did we finally get confirmation this year that curl is used in space – we learned that curl was used in the Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission! Quite possibly one of the coolest feats an open source project can pride itself with.
GitHub worked with NASA and have given all contributors to participating projects with a GitHub account a little badge on their profile. Shown here on the right. I think this fact alone might have helped attract more contributors this year. Getting your code into curl gets your contributions to places few other projects go.
There’s no info anywhere as to what function and purpose curl had exactly in the project and we probably will never know, but I think we can live with that. Now we are aiming for more planets.
This, after I did a very unscientific and highly self-selective poll on twitter on January 18 2020
The old name (which you can see what the least selected in the poll) will now redirect to the new host name and so will everything.curl.se .
I am the owner of this domain since a little while back but we haven’t yet figured out what to do with the domain – this is the first use of curl.dev for real content.
If you have ideas of how we can improve curl’s web presence with this domain, please let me know! I do not want to move the official curl web site again from its new home at curl.se, that’s not what I would call a productive idea.
If you would be interested in starting a translation of the book into another language, let me know and I’ll help you get started. Currently the English version consists of 72,798 words so it’s by no means an easy feat to translate! My other two other smaller books, http2 explained and HTTP/3 explained have been translated into twelve(!) and ten languages this way (and there might be more languages coming!).
Unfortunately I don’t read Chinese so I can’t tell you how good the translation is!
At the time of that blog post, the book was already at 13,000 words and 115 written subsections. I still had that naive hope that I would have it nearly “complete” by the summer of 2016. Always the optimist.
Today, the book is at over 72,000 words with content in 600 subsections – with just 21 subtitles noted “TBD” to signal that there’s still content to add there. The PDF version of it now clocks in at over 400 pages.
I’ve come to realize and accept that it will never be “complete” and that we will just keep on working on it indefinitely since curl itself keeps changing and we keep improving and expanding texts in the book.
Right now, we have 21 sections marked as not done, but then we’ve also added features through these five years that we haven’t described in the book yet. And there are probably other areas still missing too that would benefit the book to add. There’s no hurry, we’ll just add more content when we get around to it.
Everything curl is quite clearly the most complete book and resource about curl, libcurl, the project and how all of it works. We have merged contributions from 39 different authors and we’re always interested in getting more help!
We’ve printed two editions of the book. The 2017 and the 2018 versions. As of 2020, the latest edition is out of print. If you really want one, email Dan Fandrich as mention on the web page this link takes you to. Maybe we can make another edition reality again.
The book was always meant to remain open and free, we only sell the printed version because it costs actual money to produce it.
For a long time we also offered e-book versions of everything curl, but sadly gitbooks removed those options in a site upgrade a while ago so now unfortunately we only offer a web version and a PDF version.
There are many books that mention curl and that have sections or parts devoted to various aspects of curl but there are not many books about just curl. curl programming (by Dan Gookin) is one of those rare ones.
Long time curl friend and contributor Dan Fandrich printed a (very limited) first edition of Everything curl on real actual dead-tree paper a while ago. Getting this rather heavy thing in your hand is actually an awesome feeling and quite different to just reading it on a screen!
However, those few initial copies were quickly given away to interested readers and there are none left now.
We are now investigating if there is still interest from people in getting one of these physical, hard copy versions, of the book. The price is likely to be about 20 Euros including International shipping. The first edition of the book is a 232 page professionally-printed and bound softcover book. The second edition is planned to be very similar.
The content of the first edition book was picked from the book’s git repository in March 2017 and is not the intended final version of the book. Who knows if there will ever be a final version. There are ‘tbd’ markers on many places in the book where additional content is meant to be added in a future.
You buy this book because you want a physical version of it. All the contents is already available for free online, in PDF version and in two e-book formats. The money charged for the book will not go to the curl project but is for printing and shipping.
I can hear absolutely nobody asking. I’ll just go ahead and tell you anyway since I had a plan to get a first version “done” by “the summer” (of 2016). I’m not sure I believe in that time frame anymore.
I’m now north of 40,000 words with a bunch of new chapters and sections added recently and I’m now generating an index that looks okay. The PDF version is exactly 200 pages now.
The index part is mainly interesting since the platform I use to write the book on, gitbook.com, doesn’t offer any index functionality of its own so I had to hack one up and add. That’s just one additional beauty of having the book made entirely in markdown.
Based on what I’ve written so far and know I still have outstanding, I am about 70% done, indicating there are about 17,000 words left for me. At this particular point in time. The words numbers tend to grow over time as the more I write (and the completion level is sort of stuck), the more I think of new sections that I should add and haven’t yet written…
On this page you can get the latest book stats, right off the git repo.
… is a book I’m slowly working on. Click the image above to see it in its current state. It is not complete.
As the title should hint, I intend to cover just about everything that is to say about curl. The project, the products, the development, the source code, its history, its future, the policies, the ideas and whatever else that I can think of has anything to do with curl.
The book is completely open and available for free – in a variety of formats. When I write this, there are about 60 pages and almost 13,000 words written. There are 220+ sections or sub chapters planned (so far) out of which 111 are still to be written. Of course that doesn’t really mean that the 115 already written ones are complete or without flaws that need to be corrected. I also suspect I’ve written the easiest ones first…
I welcome and encourage all the help I can get. The source is all written in markdown, and everything is on github. File issues, send pull-requests or whatever you can think of!
I’m especially interested in getting suggestions for new sections that I haven’t yet thought about. Or sub sections, or examples. Or some fun stories from the wild Internet that you overcame with the help of curl. Or suggestions on where we should insert images (and what images to insert). Or other artworks, like a nicer cover. Anything!
If things go as planned, I have filled in most of the blanks by the summer 2016 and can then offer the complete curl book.