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Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition Review

by bms (Monk)
on Mar 15, 2012 at 04:47 UTC ( #959710=bookreview: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Order Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition Review

Item Description: Updated for Perl 5.14, Perl Pocket Reference, 5th edition is a great day-to-day use reference.

Review Synopsis: Perl Pocket Reference, 5th edition is a nice, convenient way to look up many Perl features. While not all inclusive, at 93 pages, it may well fit in your pocket. Updated for Perl 5.14, Perl Pocket Reference, 5th edition is a great day-to-day use reference

Review

So you might be asking, “What can I expect if I pick up this puny book?”. Well, I'm here to tell you buddy. Weighing in at a mere 102 pages, Perl Pocket Reference, 5th edition(PPR5) is an excellent reference book. There are a couple of things you should note about PPR5. One, PPR5 is dedicated to core language features. Two, the section titles are very descriptive. Put these together and what do you get? A concise reference that with just a simple skip of the table of contents, you can easily find what you need. Sounds really handy doesn't it? Well, guess what, it truly is. There isn't really much of a change from the 4th edition, but that's okay. Why change a formula that works? Something that is worth noting is that PPR5 has a Perl Links section that holds links to the Perl community. Very nice to see. Something that I hope to see continue.

Now, you may be asking yourself, how can such a short book be divided up into so many sections? Well, it's quite ingenious actually. PPR5 is divided up into small sections based on a Perl topic or language feature. This means that not only is PPR5 nice and concise, but everything it covers is easily found and is itself straight to the point. This feature is ideal in a reference. Very ideal. So ideal in fact that this book sits next to my keyboard whenever I play with Perl. To me, that has always been the best part of O'Reilly pocket references. They don't bog you down. They aren't bloated with unnecessary information. They just serve you what's important in a concise, no-BS way. If you can't remember how some language feature works, or you're looking for a built-in feature that may solve your problem, PPR5 is my recommendation as you first stop.

Personal Thoughts

To put a personal spin on this, I'd like to tell you a bit about why I really like this reference. Programming Perl is great, but is really a bit too extensive for me as a next-to-keyboard text. Especially considering I do a lot of my programming away from my desk. I also don't exclusively use Perl. I spend most of my time using Python to prototype my Android apps using SL4A and using Java to turn my prototypes into real apps. This really makes switching back into Perl a bit weird and I forget how certain features are implemented and used. So, PPR5 and perldoc are very useful to get me back on track. Why bother? Because I really love using Perl. End of story.

Recap

So, to recap for the TL;DR types:

PPR5 hasn't changed much from the 4th edition.
PPR5 is 102 pages long and is a very concise reference.
PPR5 is well organized.
PPR5 is a great 'working' reference.

Original text

Comment on Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition Review
Re: Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition Review
by Tux (Monsignor) on Mar 15, 2012 at 08:12 UTC

    I consider myself a seasoned perl programmer, and I use the book too. A lot. The only thing I added as a printer minipage is the output of

    $ perldoc perlcheat

    after making a few small changes to include the things I keep forgetting, and a peek-a-boo section on open my $fh, "| command" vs open my $fh, "|-", "command"

    Note that the regular expression section content changed a lot since PPR4!


    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn
Re: Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition Review
by zentara (Archbishop) on Mar 15, 2012 at 19:15 UTC
    I spend most of my time using Python to prototype my Android apps using SL4A and using Java to turn my prototypes into real apps.....This really makes switching back into Perl a bit weird and I forget how certain features are implemented and used.

    You make it sound like you need Python to use SL4A. According to SL4A introduction, Perl can be used. Some Perl-Android examples are found here


    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
    Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
      Perl doesn't work with the Fullscreen UI facade with SL4A5. I tried, it isn't conpatible.

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