I agree with most of what you say about Matt's scripts. I've been hacking Perl for less than two months, and they give me shudders just the same.
But your secure alternatives link game me pause. I actually bought that book (Writing CGI Applications with Perl, by Kevin Meltzer and Brent Michalski), and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Now, I'm not trying to trash Kevin or Brent, both of whom I'm sure know far more about Perl than I do, but I thought the book was weak. Points:
- It looks like a nice thick book, but it's very padded; this verges on dishonesty, IMHO. The font is huge (12 to 14 points), there's a lot of padding (most code samples listed twice, 40 pages of appendix material that could have been 8 URLs), the margins are huge, and there's an awful lot of repetition (the 10 lines justifying -wT are repeated nearly every time it's used in a program).
- Some chapters belong better in a Perl book ("Tied Variables").
- Some inclusions/exclusions and focus choices are very odd. There's a very detailed chapter for Mason, but no mention of templates (literally - not even in the index).
- Their style is very choppy. They'll present a couple lines of code, then a paragraph talking about it, repeat. It's very difficult to get a cohesive view of the program this way - it's spoon-fed to you rather than presented whole.
- The cover's odd. What are we supposed to call it, "The Spiky Ball book?" ;)
In short, the book is much more vocational than educational. Need to hack up some code fast? This book will help. If you really want to learn
CGI, to know why and how it works, to have a broader grounding in the technologies used with it, and to build a firm foundation for future self-teaching, then IMHO nothing beats the Mouse book (CGI Programming with perl
, an O'Reilly book). I bet that the Mouse book squeezes twice as much content into 450 pages as Spiky Ball does in 525.
--man with no legs, inc.