Getting Started with MillScript

In this document we explain what you need to do to use the MillScript Toolset and what you need to know.

You will need a basic knowledge of UNIX development tools to get the best of out this system. You definitely need to know about "Bash" since that will be the main way of interacting with the system - at least until we get a web interface going. It is also necessary to have a working knowledge of Java, XML and XHTML since those are the key tools. Some knowledge of how Apache is configured will also be very helpful.

At some point you'll need to understand MillScript. There is a MillScript Language Summary and a tutorial How to Make Web Sites with the Toolset. Read and try to follow the examples provided in these guides. These are graded to provide a useful grounding the intended use of the Toolset.

If you are intending to develop or maintain the "build" program system you should also have a working knowledge of Perl since I have been hacking around in Perl like a demented woodpecker.

If you want to 'port the MillScript system to (say) Mac OS X then you'll need to understand the standard layout documented below in Section 3.

Here is a list of reference books for some of the above topics. Almost all of the below I have used and can recommend wholeheartedly. The only exception is for the Apache server - I do not have a textbook I could recommend so I have been forced to add a reference work I don't know much about. I have listed these books in order of relevance.

  • Java in a Nutshell; David Flanagan; O'Reilly. One of the few genuinely useful books on Java. An easy decision. Buy it.
  • The XML Pocket Reference; Robert Eckstein; publ O'Reilly. Although very slim, this is most of the XML you need. However, this has nothing on Java and XML (could try the so-so rated "Java & XML" by McLaughlin.) I gather that "The XML Bible" by Eliotte Rusty Harold is a fine and rather more substantial textbook. I've not read it though.
  • HTML 4.0 Sourcebook; Ian S Graham; publ Wiley. Mr Graham writes exceedingly fine books on HTML. Simply the best.
  • XHTML 1.0 Language and Design Sourcebook; Ian S Graham; publ Wiley. Again, you can't do better than this. The best XHTML book around. Lots of overlap with his HTML 4.0 Sourcebook, you should be warned. However, that is a good thing because it means you don't keep skipping from book to book.
  • Programming Perl; Wall, Christiansen, Schwatz; pub O'Reilly. This is the definitive Perl reference work. If you want to fiddle with the "mill" program, buy this (or nick it from the Marketing Science people.)
  • Apache Server Bible; Mohammed J. Kabir. If you need a reference work on Apache, then you will do a lot worse than the on-line documentation at I do not own a decent Apache reference work but if I was going to buy one I would get this one. It gets very decent reviews by decent people. That's the best I can offer.