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Re: Need Perl book advice

by Posthumous (Scribe)
on Aug 01, 2004 at 04:17 UTC ( #379015=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Need Perl book advice

I have to second some of the earlier comments -- Learning Perl and Learning Perl Objects, References & Modules are excellent.

I've found Elements of Programming with Perl by Andrew Johnson the single most helpful volume I own.

The really nice thing about Perl is this: with only a basic knowledge, you can create solutions to very difficult problems. When you get that solution down, you've learned something. As you learn more, go back and revise your first solution to make it more efficient, more elegant.

What kind of problems can you tackle? Think of how you use your PC, and some small tasks you'd like to automate. Maybe reading some log files and generating summaries, creating a backup utility, reporting on old or large files. Maybe you want to send yourself an e-mail reminder of an important date.

I started using Perl at work to extract data out of very large log files and create simple reports. As I learned more about what I could do, more projects came to mind. Get that first project finished and the ideas will start bubbling up. And you'll be learning Perl.

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Re^2: Need Perl book advice
by perldragon80 (Sexton) on Aug 02, 2004 at 05:30 UTC
    I completely agree with the last post!
    The key to moving forward and becoming a better programmer is projects, not projects that are within the realm of your current capabilities, but projects that are slightly outside of that scope.

    Having such a project or task will force you to use all the resources you can to figure out solutions to the problems you find (which you can't immediately solve). I have found no faster way to learn than to be presented with a programming task that I wanted to find a solution to.

    Step 1, and perhaps the key to all of this, is finding something that you would like to have automated or completed by a script or program. Don't start with something too big, just start with something fairly simple, perhaps even expand on an example you read in one of the books.

    From there just keep trying to set a higher standard and soon you will be doing things you never even thought you could. When you do come to a point where you are having trouble, that's when you start using the forums, the google news groups, CPAN for modules, and although the O'Reilley line of books aren't perfect, I have found that they are very useful for almost any project you might want to tackle. Of course, instead of buying all the books I would search for online references or copies of those books first.

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Corion is mildly surprised as some different toy projects coagulate into a useful application. I've been toying with writing a Meetup wrapper and also have been toying with synchronizing events between (CalDAV) calendars, and now that means I can ...
[Corion]: ... easily* synchronize my personal calendar with Meetup and import stuff from Meetup there
[Corion]: * Code not yet written, some restrictions may apply

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