perleager has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hey, I'm starting to get out of the begginer Perl phase and as my internship work demands more knowledge out of me, I would like a book that would help me get to that intermediate level. Basically, the only book I really had about Perl was a "Perl & LWp" and "Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide."

I would like a book that would teach me a great deal with more security and efficieny in my scripts. For example I want to know everything about tainting and other topics on Perl that I'm not familiar with that will benifit me as a programmer. Does anyone have a recommendation? Would Programming Perl 3rd edition be good enough? Or maybe perhaps Advanced Perl Programming?


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Any Book Recommendation
by Aragorn (Curate) on Apr 17, 2004 at 16:52 UTC
    Programming Perl is of course very good. But a lot of the information found in it can be found in the on-line documentation. A book that in my opinion really boosts your proficiency in Perl is the Perl Cookbook. It teaches you idiomatic Perl (which most of the time is also the most efficient Perl) for a lot of day-to-day programming problems. Security isn't a topic in itself, but is touch upon in the topics where it matters. perlsec is good source of information about security.


Re: Any Book Recommendation
by krusty (Hermit) on Apr 17, 2004 at 16:18 UTC
    Perl Programming 3rd edition has an entire chapter (chpt. 23) devoted to security. Chapter 24 has a number of tips and tricks for making your code more efficient, for coding more efficiently, for making your code extensible... This is a great place to start. Advanced Perl programming is great, but kind of dated, and alot of Advanced topics seemed to be incorporated into Progamming Perl. I like a book called Effective Perl Programming by Joseph Hall. Its not that long, but some great stuff on efficient perl. If you could purchase only one book, I'd get the Camel... Programming Perl 3rd edition.
Re: Any Book Recommendation
by QM (Parson) on Apr 17, 2004 at 18:31 UTC
    Effective Perl Programming by Hall and Schwartz gave me the best mileage. While it might appear to be out of date (1998), it has a lot of good points on idioms, good practices, and avoiding common errors.

    I imagine there's very little that would be added in an update.

    Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

Re: Any Book Recommendation
by DigitalKitty (Parson) on Apr 18, 2004 at 08:17 UTC
Re: Any Book Recommendation
by gmpassos (Priest) on Apr 17, 2004 at 22:24 UTC
Re: Any Book Recommendation
by JoeJaz (Monk) on Apr 17, 2004 at 18:20 UTC
    At work we have a book called "Perl: Black Book" This is a really thick book that covers a lot of content. Though I have never read it cover to cover, I use it all the time for reference. I find it very useful. We also have "Perl: The complete Reference," which complements the other book very well. I have seen both of them on Amazon. I hope this helps. Joe
      I don't have "Perl: Black Book", so this is going to be second hand information.

      I know that it has a number of good reviews on Amazon. I know that some people like it. But I am personally bothered that I have never seen a top Perl programmer recommend it. I'm also bothered that the only person that I personally knew who loved it and recommended it had picked up a style that he claimed was from the Black Book which involved no error checking. Which indicates serious flaws that most readers will not notice, but which are glaring problems that raise red flags for good Perl programmers.

      Asking about it in chatter, kvale turned up this review which indicates that my doubts are well-grounded.

Re: Any Book Recommendation
by TomDLux (Vicar) on Apr 18, 2004 at 04:51 UTC
    I recommend
    • Learning pearl .... the old edition was educational, the new one should be great for newbies.
    • Proghramming Perl .... informative, though limited in educational content for new programmers
    • For Intermediate programmers, The Programming CookBook is a grgeat5 source
    • I've gotten some useful info frfm Advanced Perl programing, though not as much as from the Cookbook, but maybe it will be usefull to you.


Re: Any Book Recommendation
by davido (Cardinal) on Apr 18, 2004 at 08:30 UTC
    Everyone will have their favorie titles.

    I think that the Camel book was initially really important to my Perl learning. And I still refer back to it frequently. It's hard to imagine mastering 100% of its content. Then looking for second sources I moved on to the POD's. The POD's have now become my primary source.

    After that, I started buying books to cover topics where I saw an interest and / or felt inadequate. That led to (in no particular order) Advanced Perl Programming (the Panther book), the Alpaca book (Perl Objects and References), Programming the Perl DBI (I felt a need to get more proficient in how to handle databases within Perl)... the Owls book (Mastering Regular Expressions), the Mouse book (CGI Programming with Perl), and a few others along the way that I can't remember right now.

    I really do think that learning how to maneuver my way through the POD was the biggest step in the right direction though.

    I would suggest a brief introspection: where do you feel inadequate? Where do you feel an interest? the book that you see as taking you farther down that particular road. Once you're comfortable with the new topic, do it over again with some other topic.


Re: Any Book Recommendation
by Hissingsid (Sexton) on Apr 18, 2004 at 08:14 UTC
    Hi Anthony,

    It depends what you are looking for, a desk referrence, a good read or a book to dip into when you have a few minutes to learn something new.

    I find it very difficult to pick up a book on Perl and read it from cover to cover. Perl Cookbook by Christiansen and Torkington suits my reading style complete recipes covered in a page or two.

    Learning Perl is also easy to consume and an excellent next read given the other books that you say you have.

    Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide. Has been very heavily criticised because of dodgy parsing subs, "dangerous" scripts and complete lack of use of modules. If you are aware of this then the book still has useful information in an easily digestible form but just be very careful. I have a well thumbed copy myself and it was very useful in the early days but I cringe at some of the things I did based on this book given what I know now.

    The perl manual is excellent. Take a look at man perlcheat. The dos and dont's towards the bottom of that page will explain what is wrong with "Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide".

    Best wishes