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Re: (OT) I prefer to do my learning with: dead trees or flying electrons?

by submersible_toaster (Chaplain)
on Sep 23, 2003 at 06:57 UTC ( #293418=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to (OT) I prefer to do my learning with: dead trees or flying electrons?

Familiarity? Not speaking for anyone else in this regard I shall relate a short story.

When starting my first tech support job, I knew vaguely TCP/IP, some systemV type shell and that I was jumping into the deep end into boiling water. Before starting I had asked one of my similarly geeky (but more successful) school friends what I could do to get up to speed, what are some more valuable skills to have. Two words and a gesture were all he gave me, 'Learn perl' pointing to a tatty copy of the o'reilly 'perl in a nutshell'. This is in fact the only paper perl reference I have ever owned, buying new edition on occasion. Why do I keep buying the same one ? Familiarity. - that book saved my stressed out backside more time and frustration that I can express. It was good advice then and I have clung to it.

As you say, this is not the forum for a trees vs electrons debate. I use both to the extent that I LOVE having a solid reference on my desk, books smell good (!?) , I've never come across a coffee ring on a perldoc -f page, but can reminisce about almost every abused corner and tear of each of my copies of 'perl in a nutshell'. The perlers who can't believe you don't have a copy of the Camel may have similar quirky feelings about that book - but who am I to speculate.

I can't believe it's not psellchecked
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Re: Re: (OT) I prefer to do my learning with: dead trees or flying electrons?
by menolly (Hermit) on Sep 23, 2003 at 16:38 UTC

    It's interesting to me that Perl in a Nutshell is your must-have book. It's one of my least-used Perl references -- I think the only one I've used less is Advanced Perl Programming, because I simply haven't been doing much with most of what it covers. (Though, honestly, I really should sit down and read some parts of it more closely; I'd probably use it more if I were more familiar with it.)

    My current must-haves are:

    1. Perl Cookbook
    2. Perl Pocket Reference
    3. the Camel

    I'd reverse the order of that list for starting out, though: The Camel is thorough and detailed. Once I was familiar with that, I came to rely more on the pocket ref as a memory jogger. The Cookbook is more of an algorithmic reference and memory jogger -- but if you don't understand the examples, you won't be able to apply them appropriately, so it's not a good starting point. I do use Nutshell occasionally, usually to doublecheck syntax and available methods for DBI.

    Once I'm familiar with a book, I can easily turn to exactly where the information I want is. I can bookmark at arbitrary locations much more easily than in most softcopy formats. While I'm usually working in a windowed environment these days, that hasn't always been the case, and it's much easier to use an offline reference when you only have a single term. And you can't get softcopy signed. :)

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