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So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?

by ait (Friar)
on Apr 04, 2010 at 18:12 UTC ( #832725=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
ait has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

On a recent "Perl" thread in a FreeBSD list, I found it amusing that "the trilogy" could represent different subsets to different people, so I ask you:

If you were to choose 3 Perl books to call them "The Trilogy" which would they be?

I am inclined to think that the more traditional Perl programmers would probably say Camel, Llama and Alpaca. But I for example would say Llama, Alpaca, and Black Leopard as "Trilogy One", and probably Camel, Owl (MRE), and American Staghound (PBP) as a must-have "Trilogy Two"

Anyway, I thought it would be equally amusing to her all the opinions here... and, no, they don't have to be O'Relly books only!

Comment on So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by crashtest (Curate) on Apr 04, 2010 at 18:39 UTC

    I would say:

    1. Llama (Learning Perl)
    2. Camel (Programming Perl)
    3. Ram (Perl Cookbook)

    For me, these sort of form a nice trilogy because each book has a different style. The Llama is a beginner's tutorial. The Camel is a reference book. And The Ram takes yet another approach with its recipe-style code listings and explanations. In combination, these three books give you three distinctive perspectives to help cover the basics of Perl.

      Have you read "recipe" books for other languages? If so -- how do you think the Perl Cookbook compares to others? What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Perl Cookbook?

      I haven't really gotten a whole lot of value out of "recipe" programming books in the past, in most cases. The one book that offers a pseudo-recipe approach to what it does that I've found really instructive was Gregory T. Brown's Ruby Best Practices, and that's probably largely because it's only sorta a "recipe" book. I wonder if the Perl Cookbook would actually do me much good.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        I can't say I've got recipe books for other languages - it's something I tend to shy away from because it feels like they come from the copy-paste school of programming. I do like the Perl Cookbook despite that because I find the explanations accompanying the examples to be suitable detailed and interesting.

        The Perl Cookbok is awesome IMHO. I just wished there was a newer edition, it has been a while at the second edition :-(
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by apotheon (Deacon) on Apr 04, 2010 at 18:53 UTC

    Well . . . I'm the guy who first mentioned the "trilogy" in that FreeBSD thread. I pointed out that the traditional camelid trilogy is the Llama (Learning Perl), the Alpaca (originally Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules, and now Intermediate Perl), and the Camel (Programming Perl). I also mentioned that the Vicuņa (Mastering Perl) is now available, but since I haven't read it I can't really comment with any authority on its value.

    While I'm sure Advanced Perl Programming is kind of a must-read (I've skimmed, but not really had a chance to read, the black leopard), it seems to me like something to get after those I mentioned above. Since I haven't read the Vicuņa, and haven't read APP in any depth, I can't really say whether one is a better follow-up to other books than the other, though. I'm just pretty strongly of the opinion that the Llama and Alpaca are an awesome first and second book for an introduction to programming with Perl, and practical competence requires a good reference with explanations on the shelf.

    I think your question implies that there can only be three must-read books for Perl. I don't really agree with such an assumption, though. I think it's perfectly reasonable to talk about a camelid trilogy, and to just say "Perl Best Practices and Advanced Perl Programming are also must-read books if you're serious about being a Perl programmer."

    I'm not so sure Mastering Regular Expressions is a must-read for Perl programmers, exactly. As far as I'm aware, it's not even a Perl book, per se. I'm sure it's a great book (though I haven't read it), but that's not the same thing as being a must-have, must-read Perl book (especially since not all Perl programming requires regular expressions, though of course one needs some competence with regular expressions to be a truly competent Perlist in my opinion).

    Anyway, I guess that pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter. I reserve the right to change my mind if and when I get around to reading some of the books discussed here that I haven't yet read.

    print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
    - apotheon
    CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by ww (Bishop) on Apr 04, 2010 at 19:27 UTC
    1. Llama (Learning Perl)
    2. Bighorn (The Perl Cookbook)
    3. Owl (Mastering Regular Expressions

    Cookbook provided higher value for me than Camel, perhaps mostly because of the way it's organized. But both are invaluable.

    So can we make this a quartet, or -- better yet -- a quintet?

    If so, Camel joins my list, along with either Perl Debugged or the Debugger Pocket Reference

    Ooops. Sextet, anyone?

    No, make that "septet" because I'm sure to think of another as soon as I post this.

    Seriously, Perl is blessed with what seems to me an extraordinarily wide selection of excellent books (and, of course, a few that would have better served the world had the trees chopped down to make paper to print them had been left to grow.

    Update (in response to the comments above re MRE): Regexen are but one tool among those that make TIMTOWTDI a watchword for Perl.. but they are a tool. The Perl coder without broad and deep knowledge of regexen is suffering a handicap on the same order as the proverbial fighter with one arm tied behind his back.

      I agree with your statements about the importance of regular expressions for a Perlist, but I have also learned a metric crapton about regular expressions in general (and Perl regexen in particular) without ever having read Mastering Regular Expressions.

      Would I learn more if I read that book? Oh, certainly -- and I may well read it some day. Is it one of the core three books of a central trilogy of books that anyone getting into Perl should probably read first, specifically for purposes of learning Perl? I don't really think so. I'm of the opinion that learning enough about regexen to get by, and spending some time learning some other concepts that are also important, is more important for such a student of Perl. A deeper understanding of regexen than can be had by getting familiar with Perl in general and learning to navigate perldoc is a matter of specialization rather than of general Perl competence, I think.

      I suppose your mileage may vary -- but that's kinda my point.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by moritz (Cardinal) on Apr 04, 2010 at 20:18 UTC
    Not quite a trilogy in style, but my three most favorite Perl books:
    • Programming Perl
    • Higher Order Perl
    • Mastering Regular Expressions

    (Maybe not the right choice to get a complete novice started with perl, but probably good to give somebody who knows a bit of perl a firm grasp of the language).

    Perl 6 - links to (nearly) everything that is Perl 6.
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon) on Apr 04, 2010 at 21:24 UTC
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by Burak (Chaplain) on Apr 05, 2010 at 04:21 UTC

    The Camel is too outdated unfortunately. It's a decade old now. Perhaps it's time someone updated it with some special effects (like George Lucas did to the original trilogy:)

    Like moritz, I too have a mixed "trilogy" :)

    • Perl Best Practices
    • Higher Order Perl
    • Perl Hacks

Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by biohisham (Priest) on Apr 05, 2010 at 07:38 UTC
    For me, it has been : The Perl Black Book is a trilogy o' trilogies, for therein you got inductions into Tk, Web programming and CGI each on their own right among other assortments. The daunting thing is, it maybe of a considerable volume, and the positive thing which has been for me is that, it cuts the beating-around-the-bush and it doesn't have exercises, I think this is great because examples sort of tame your horizon from expanding on heuristics, after all, what The Monastery is all about if it gives not the day to day cases met by a lot of monks for other monks to dig in as sources of various examples and cases... I also like the book for it has characters in it:
    • The Programming Style Correctness Czar.
    • The ironic strong-personality Big Boss, Mr BB, with his monocle and cigar and strong C programming know-hows.
    • The Novice Programmer, Mr NP, who repeatedly gets himself in coding troubles and who hilariously fears Mr BB.
    • You, who started novice and progressively began to save the poor NP from the organization predators and dodge Mr BB merciless attacks on Perl by showing him what Perl can do when compared to C and where it does stand unique among the rest of the lot, TIMTOWTDI nature and the inherent memory allocation are some of the reply-backs.
    It is a great reference and problem solver and that can be extended to become a fun text-book indeed of > 1200 pages....



    Excellence is an Endeavor of Persistence. Chance Favors a Prepared Mind.
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by DrHyde (Prior) on Apr 06, 2010 at 12:38 UTC
    My trilogy would be:
    The Llama book
    This is the "HOWTO" that beginners need in addition to the manpages. The Camel isn't on my list because it's, to a very large degree, just a restatement of the manpages.
    Effective Perl Programming
    The first edition from back at the dawn of time is still a damned good book for beginners. I'm very much looking forward to reading the new second edition.
    Object-Oriented Perl
    The Damian Book is also ancient, but still very good. Sure, it doesn't cover new stuff like Moose, but it will give you an excellent grounding in the basics.
    And I'd also like to mention Mastering Regular Expressions. I've only read the first edition, but that was excellent, and an awful lot of what I got out of it is just as useful in other languages as it is in perl.
Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by pid (Monk) on Apr 09, 2010 at 14:19 UTC

    My trilogy:

    • The Llama Book
    • The Camel Book
    • The Black Leopard Book

    The llama book is my first Perl book, and it helped me step into the world of Perl. My first impression is, this book is a basic sketch of the funky Perl world ("look at the way they talk!" - the style of writing, the funny names of variables, the speak-like programming structures, yet how (un)friendly Perl is) :-P

    For the Camel book, as someone figured out before, a little bit like a print-out version of perldoc, but hey, I simply love the way Larry(and the co-authors) write(I'd like to use the word "sermon"), "Part bible, part encyclopedia, and part almanac, this is the essential book on Perl.", as the back cover reads. Also, you will find some cultural background and some "reading material" from the book.

    The Black Leopard, i.e., Advanced Perl Programming, is the book showed me more parts of the Perl world. I got a taste of "hacking" right after finishing reading the first chapter ("Advanced Techniques"). The rest part of the book unleashes some secret corners, stuff the readers' package of hacking. I'm sure it is kind of a must-read (from apotheon's node) for a beginning Perl hacker.

    There's also some other books, among them, Higher Order Perl by Mark Jason Dominus, helped me a lot. I turned to Perl after wet my feet with water from Scheme/Common Lisp, this book showed me how to think functional in Perl, and it was an enjoyable reading.

Re: So what is your Perl book "Trilogy" anyway?
by JavaFan (Canon) on Apr 09, 2010 at 15:13 UTC
    I've over 30 Perl books, including all the books mentioned in this thread, many of them in several editions. I find their combined total can't hold a candle towards Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment by W. Richard Stevens - the only books (first and second edition) I've consulted in the past 10 years to assist my Perl programming. And if you want a trilogy, throw in TCP/IP Illustrated (3 volumes) and UNIX Network Programming (2 volumes).

    In fact, if I were to choose between the books of W. Richard Stevens vs. all the O'Reilly books (not just the Perl ones), I'd pick the W. Richard Stevens books.

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