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Programming Perl

by mr2 (Friar)
on May 26, 2002 at 17:34 UTC ( #169417=bookreview: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Item Description: Programming Perl

Review Synopsis:

i'm from Lithuania (europe) & i study english language ... & i had to introduce some kind of book ... so i chose "Programming Perl (3ed)" ... so there is what i figured ...

Programming Perl

Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen & Jon Orwant

This book is the third edition book and was published in year 2000. The first edition was published in 1991 and the second in 1996. It was published for a few times because the perl programming language was changing, becoming more powerful, and the later editions of the book were becoming less informative.

It was edited by several people like Larry Wall (the inventor of perl), Tom Christiansen (one of the first perl programmers), Jon Orwant (the editor of "The Perl Journal" which has brought together the perl programmers community as a common forum for new developments in perl) and many more people who were sending the authors emails, with found bugs, suggestions, examples of perl scripts.

The whole book is dedicated to perl (practical extraction and report language) programming language that has grown explosively in popularity since its initial debut in 1987. "Programming Perl" is not just a book about perl. It is also a unique introduction to the language and its culture. There are a lot of other books on perl, but only this one is the definitive guidebook that includes all the nooks and crannies of the language. Any perl book can list endless features, but only this one can tell why those features were created and how to use them idiomatically. It's even affectionately known by all perl programmers as "The Camel." (because of the picture of the camel on the front of it).

The book is divided into 5 big parts: [1] Overview. [2] The Gory Details [3] Perl as technology. [4] Perl as culture. [5] Reference material. that are divided into 33 topics, whitch consist of a lot of small topics.

The first part is an introduction to the book and to perl. It's introduced as a programming language that is used on almost all (if not all) operating systems ever created, UNIX, Windows, Mac OS, even such operating systems like Atari, Guardian, SCO, etc ... It is also described how perl works, because it's not a programming language like many others. When you write a perl program, it's not called "a program", it's called "a script" because its source is not compiled as almost all programming languages, and it needs a interpreter (perl) which reads this script and acts the way it's written in it. It is also talked a lot about its flexibility, its using in system administration, web programming. This part of book is written in easy language with a little dose of humor, everybody can easily read and it's not boring.

The second part discusses important basics of perl programming: variables, values, hashes, input, output, that are used in programming small/large perl scripts. This part is more serious, because if you misunderstand something what is written there, it will be hard to understand next chapters. But if you read carefully and try examples that are shown, it's not really hard.

The third topic helps in overcoming programming problems. It's described how to prepare the system, debug the scripts. It's not long, problems are shortly described and simple to understand, besides, solutions are written.

Next chapter "Perl as Culture" talks about perl development, learning on the world wide web, about programming style, perl script security which is very important in our days, because of a lot of attempts on hacking. The main theme is the explanation on how to become a part of wide perl programmers community, how to make your own research and how to share the results. It's dedicated to advanced programmers.

And the last one is the most serious one. It differs from others because its not discussed about the basics of programming, it's like the handbook of skilled programmers, who are called JAPH (witch is an acronym of Just Another Perl Hacker) among perl programmers. There is a list of perl modules (libraries) that help advanced programmers to write longer scripts in less time.

The book is very interesting for people who are interested in programming, system administration, web development, internet security, because it discusses everything, connecting everything to perl programming language. And if you read the whole, or any part of a book carefully, you will find out many interesting facts, you'll learn to program in perl or just find out how perl programmers community lives.

©opyLeft by mr2 [2002.05.]

Fixed square brackets and misc formatting - dvergin 2002-05-26

Comment on Programming Perl
Re: Programming Perl
by mrbbking (Hermit) on May 26, 2002 at 20:54 UTC
    This is an excellent, easy-to-read introduction to a very important book.

    Thanks for the write-up. It's reminded me of some sections that I have not read in-depth yet.

Re: Programming Perl
by cjf (Parson) on May 27, 2002 at 14:32 UTC

    Nice Review++

    Just wanted to make one note for anyone reading this for the first (or 2nd, or 3rd) time: Read the references and Data Structures chapters (8 and 9 respectively). I took a look at them the first time through and skipped over them thinking they weren't important, they are. So read them.

    Update: Oh yeah, I suppose I should mention this is an excellent book (which almost goes without saying). It's great for learning the language if you have a programming background, and is also an excellent reference book (it hasn't left my desk since I got it).

Re: Programming Perl
by /dev/null (Chaplain) on Sep 04, 2002 at 19:50 UTC
    A must have for any Perl Programmer. "The Perl Bible" This book expanded on the "Llama" book and gave me a more in depth view of Perl. I have to agree with cjf, check out chapters 8 and 9.

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