This week's Practical DNS Refcard was authored by Michael Hughes, who took a few minutes to answer some questions about his background and the Refcard.
DZone: Tell us a little about your professional background and how it contributed to your writing the Practical DNS Refcard.
Michael Hughes: I have a Bachelors Degree in Telecommunications Engineering and have worked for energy companies, web hosting companies and even large financial institutions as a technical specialist and more recently a security specialist, and in doing so was required to develop a deep knowledge of the workings of numerous technologies.
Having grown up alongside the Internet, I developed a keen interest in it's underlying technologies, specifically the Domain Name System (DNS). Whilst working for one of the larger web hosting companies in Australia, I noticed that there was a lack of free DNS tools resources available on the Internet. In 2010, I started the website http://ViewDNS.info with the aim of providing a free and simple interface to a large number of DNS tools.
This site is used by tens of thousands of users who need to find some information on DNS or diagnose problems with their DNS configuration.
DZone: In 1-2 sentences, explain how this Refcard is a must-have resource for developers working with DNS.
Michael Hughes: This Refcard provides what should be considered a mandatory base level of understanding on DNS for any developer working with online software. It will help ensure that the technology is understood and common problems can be easily avoided when dealing with DNS.
DZone: What do you think are the most common problems developers face when dealing with DNS?
Michael Hughes: DNS propagation is by far the most common issue that I hear about. This type of problem can occur when someone either registers a new domain, transfers a domain from one registrar or web hosting company to another, or when making a change to an existing DNS record. The Refcard provides some simple tips on how to mimimise the effects of DNS propagation.
DZone: Tell us about an interesting project you are working on now or will be working on in the near future.
Michael Hughes: One of the newest additions to the website are the ccTLD zone files which can be found at http://viewdns.info/data/. In providing the functionality of ViewDNS.info a lot of data is required in the backend. I had multiple requests from various groups (including domainers, entrepreneurs and brand protection agencies) to provide them with lists of valid, registered domain names for various ccTLD's. In order to meet these requirements, the reverse engineered ccTLD zone files were made available on the website. These files are the most complete and up to date collection of ccTLD data available to the public, as most ccTLD registrars do not allow access to their zone files to the public.
DZone: Please suggest some more resources for readers looking to learn more about DNS.
Michael Hughes: First, I'd suggest checking out http://viewdns.info/ and entering a few domain names etc into the tools and seeing what kind of output comes back. It's really amazing the amount of information that you can obtain on a company or individual based only on a domain name.
Second, I'd suggest checking out the book DNS and Bind which is currently on it's fifth edition -