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Learning Perl

by Aighearach
on Jul 07, 2000 at 10:38 UTC ( #21416=bookreview: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Order Learning Perl

Item Description:

Review Synopsis:

the Llama book
by Randal L Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.


My first experience with Perl was via the Llama book. I was taking some C++ classes at the time, but I wasn't really happy with some of the "features" of C, like having to keep track of my array sizes. Am I a programmer, or a bean counter? So, I decided to seek out something Different, to supplement my learning.

Upon opening the Llama book, I found a rather bizarre forward by Larry Wall. I got a good laugh out of it, but it also made me a little nervous. Isn't programming at least a little bit serious? But, it is only the forward, after all.

Entering chapter one, "Introduction," my worries were quickly dispelled. My background was mainly in BASIC on the Apple and ASIC on DOS, and I quickly found a new thing to be concerned about. What was being described was easier, was more natural than basic! This can't be efficient, can it? Little did I know...

From there I was taken on a pleasant stroll through scalars and arrays, control structures, hashes, basic I/O, regular expressions, functions, filehandles, and onward all the way to CGI. I found this journey to be very easy, and well planned.

For somebody new to perl, I would give this book my highest recommendation. In just a few weeks, I was able to write more clear, concise programs than I have ever been able to write in C. I found it to provide a solid foundation, so that I was completely prepared to dive into perldoc to answer the rest of my basic and intermediate questions.

Comment on Learning Perl
Re: Learning Perl
by birdbrane (Chaplain) on Mar 23, 2001 at 23:36 UTC
    Short of making this sound like a "Sunday morning testimony" Learning Perl got me re-interested in programming. Like Aighearach most of my programming experience was in basic from the days of yore, but upon reading thru the "Stroll Through Perl", I was able to start writing my own code.

    Even though I have been using perl for ~1.5 years, I still use the Llama book for a quick ref, if I have forgotten the syntax or need to show someone something. If someone asks me about learning perl, I ALWAYS recommend this book.

    More of a butcher than a hacker,

    Joe

Re: Learning Perl
by katykat (Beadle) on Jul 11, 2002 at 21:08 UTC
    I've just begun to read Learning Perl and quite frankly I should have done that a while ago. Considering I've never programmed before and am determined to start with Perl, and also considering everything my boyfriend has tried showing me in an attempt to teach me Perl has failed, this book has become my bible for the moment. That is until I move onto Programming Perl. All in all Perl has gotten much more enjoyable, not to mention logical, since I've picked up the book. Thanks to all those monks out there who recommended it.
Re: Learning Perl
by /dev/null (Chaplain) on Sep 04, 2002 at 15:43 UTC
    Great Book! As a programming newbie I found this book highly informative and great for the programming novice. I went straight to writing programs after reading Learning Perl and Programming Perl. I can see myself referencing this book when I hit the more advanced stages of Perl programming.
Re: Learning Perl
by Bismark (Scribe) on Jan 13, 2003 at 17:17 UTC
    I needed to do something that to the best of my knowledge
    had never been done before.
    I sludged my ways through many programming books
    trying to find the answer. While the Lama did not tell me how to do it
    it did tell me that it could be done.
    A serious mistake for any Perl programmer
    would be for them not to have read
    this book.
    Kerry
    credo quia absurdum
Re: Learning Perl
by Wassercrats on Nov 13, 2003 at 12:58 UTC
    I guess I should start by saying that I'm not all that satisfied with any of the three popular computer books that I've bought. Learning Perl is one of those three.

    Among the things that could be improved is the section on numeric operators, p. 22, where it says "In addition, there are other numeric operators, which we'll introduce as we need them." Even the index only lists p. 22 under operators, numeric. Page 32 contains a more complete listing of operators. This is one of the many notes I made in the index.

    Similarly, p. 117 says "There are many other option modifiers available. We'll cover those as we get to them..." A few documentation references are given, but not perlre.

    Among the other additions and notes I made in the index are:

    "Modifiers--see option modifiers on p. 116-117,"
    "Order of Operations p. 31-33"
    "Conditionals..." (several references)
    "See 'single quotes' & 'double quotes'" (under quoting)

    I mainly use the index, but I also made a note in the contents--under chapter 9. Using Regular Expressions, I wrote "see p.239," where there is more regex information (chapter 17).

    I made numerous notes in the Symbols section of the index, such as listing page 240 next to the question mark, so I'll be referred to the non-greedy quantifier. The only page the book refers me to for the question mark is 101, which is about the "preceding item is optional" use of the question mark. Other notes were made for the vertical bar (see pipe, p.303), and the range operator (see p. 43).

    There are other notes scattered through the book. I have no better beginner's Perl book to recommend, but Learning Perl needs some work.

      If those are your most significant complaints, I'd consider that be a ringing endorsement of the book!

      As far as indexing... I highly recommend against using this book that way. For that sort of usage, you should look to the Camel. Learning Perl is intended to be a general langauge tutorial for beginners, and not a langauge reference. Once you are far enough to be needing to look up specific things, you should be moving past the training wheels book.


      --
      Snazzy tagline here
      Learning Perl is, quite simply, a bad book.

      It is definitely too obscure for non-programmers, but fails professionals miserably as well.

      A single example is enough to condemn the wretched text: with any other standard introductory language text (to Python, C, Java, Lisp - whatever) a programmer will finish the book knowing how to write a function that can add or multiply two arrays. With the Llama book, he not only won't know how to perform this trivial task, but won't know that he doesn't know - because the entire subject of references has been elided, including even a warning as to when they might be necessary.

      In other words, this is a great book to read if you want to end up being an unwittingly dangerous Perl coder.

      By comparison, the Sam Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours book covers references beautifully, as well as many other key topics RS neglects or messes up, and it is probably usable as introduction to programming for someone who has never programmed in any language before.

      Bad Llama - bad!

      jdporter added p tags

Re: Learning Perl
by targetsmart (Curate) on Jan 15, 2009 at 12:23 UTC
    This books is very precious to me and my company, we have been searching this sort of introductory book for Perl for years. We have found it. We have used this book to educate our trainees(new to perl) and it helped the trainees to grab up the language very quickly.
    The very next book to follow in this series is 'intermediate perl'.

      I have been introduced to Perl by a friend. After some research I found out this is the prefered book for beginners by many. So I didn't hesitate and I ordered it from web. I have to say I don't regret the decision. This book enabled me to start walking in Perl. Nice good introduction to the language.

      May be you won't become an expert by this book alone. But it is also not the aim of the book. The authors remind us of the fact also. The book should be a starting point to your journey in Perl. Once you are confident about the matter in the book you can move on to 'Intermediate Perl' and 'Mastering Perl'

      And FYI, my book was edition 5, which had brian d foy also as the author. I have also bought the other two books and is looking and is going through them too.

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