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Since this is my first Perl book, I can't rate it based upon my knowledge of Perl. But as far as programming books go, I'd say it's possibly the best programming book I've read (so far) because it simply made sense, and It wasn't so boring.

Reading stuff like this in a review worries me rather a lot. Surely the most important thing about a Perl book is whether or not it teaches good Perl. I've ranted on this theme at various other times, but this is the reason why I ignore all reader reviews at sites like Amazon. Most people who review technical books are unqualified to do so. This renders their review worthless.

My theory is that a good book needs two things:

  • It needs to present good quality information
  • It needs to present it in a way that its target audience finds easy to follow

The target audience for this book is obviously people with little or no Perl knowledge. Those people are therefore qualified to comment on the second of these criteria, did the book speak a language that you understood, but they are exactly the worse set of people to judge a book on the first criteria. As far as they know, the book could be teaching them the skills to be the next Matt Wright (this, by the way, would be a bad idea!) They simply have no way of knowing.

He's a simple checklist that I use when flicking thru books in a bookshop to see how good a beginners book might be:

  • Does the book encourage the use of -w and use strict?
  • Does it explain the return values of localtime correctly?
  • Does it use -T and for CGI programs?
  • Does it explain finding, installing and using modules from CPAN?

Fulfilling these criteria doesn't necessarily mean that a book is any good, but not fulfilling them guarantees that the book will be a waste of money.

How does Mastering Perl 5 rate on these criteria?


"The first rule of Perl club is you don't talk about Perl club."

In reply to Re: Mastering Perl 5 by Eric C. Hermann by davorg
in thread Mastering Perl 5 by Eric C. Hermann by staeryatz

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