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Climbing The Perl Learning Curve

by Clovis_Sangrail (Beadle)
on May 30, 2013 at 13:49 UTC ( #1036052=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

As a beginner or journeyman Perl programmer I've been able to do useful work in the language without ever using anything more advanced than an occaisional reference. What are (I guess) the most elementary parts of the language enable me to do many things that are too slow, too clumsy, or just outright impossible in any Unix shell.

I am finding that the book: "Learning Perl Objects, References, & Modules" by Randal L. Schwartz with Tom Phoenix is immensely helpful to me in learning about the more advanced features of Perl. It introduces concepts in a natural (probably not the only possible) order, it almost completely avoids the maddening practice of using a term before defining it, it provides good examples and exercises that really help me absorb the lessons (especially if I actually do the exercises and type up, run, & play with the examples in the text), and it introduces some core modules and illustrates why you might want to use them.

No, I'm not trying to sell the book, there may be other ones just as good or better, and maybe there are better choices of 'first modules' to introduce to the journeyman Perl coder. But I have to say that so far (I'm about half through it), this is IMHO a very good '2.0' or even '3.0' level tutorial for someone trying to learn beyond the very basics of the language.

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Re: Climbing The Perl Learning Curve
by davido (Archbishop) on May 30, 2013 at 16:11 UTC

    For the record, "Learning Perl Objects, References & Modules" was re-written and renamed "Intermediate Perl", and even that is now in its 2nd edition. All three versions are "the Alpaca book", but the most recent is really the best one to be working with right now. If I recall, the original never touched on testing, which is introduced in Intermediate Perl, for example.

    And yes, I do endorse the book as well (especially in its most current edition). I think the beginner's trilogy should probably be Learning Perl, Intermediate Perl, and Modern Perl.


      Yes, I just stumbled across "Intermediate Perl" on the Stonehenge website, but I'll probably keep plowing thru the edition that I have now, I've already bought an embarrassing number of books this year. Chapter 14 of the original version, "Essential Testing", does discuss "make test" and such.

Re: Climbing The Perl Learning Curve
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on May 31, 2013 at 02:29 UTC

    Another suggestion that I would make is ... to look at as much Perl code as you can reasonably get your hands on.   For example, if you are searching for a CPAN library ( that interests you, notice the (Source) hyperlink on that page.   Click it, and you get a glimpse of the source-code behind the scenes.   Just ... browse it.   Don’t try to understand it all.   Some of it’s wunnerful, and some is not.   But it is real, production code.   “You learn a lot by watching.”

      " if you are searching for a CPAN library.."

      To tell you the truth CPAN is kind of intimidating to me at this point. I feel like I have to get through (or at least get into) the OOP stuff in the Alpaca book to be able to make sense of CPAN modules.

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