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Perl CGI and books

by jfroebe (Parson)
on Apr 05, 2004 at 18:44 UTC ( #342708=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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

Question: I just ordered a pile of Perl CGI books... as I need to know more than just the basics of using CGI perl module and while RTFM is useful, actually taking it and writing a complex page (yes PAGE not necessarily a whole site ;-) .. blah blah ... you get the idea. Any other books on Perl that would be useful that aren't below?

how is it that with technical books, once you have a whole pile of them, you find that you always need just one more to get the info you want?

1 of: CGI Programming with Perl Paperback by Gunther
Birznieks; Scott Guelich... Paperback
By: Gunther Birznieks (Author), et al

1 of: The CGI/PERL Cookbook Paperback by Patchett, Craig;
Wright, Matthew Paperback
By: Craig Patchett (Author), Matthew Wright (Author)

1 of: Official Guide to Programming with Paperback
by Stein, Lincoln Paperback
By: Lincoln Stein (Author)

1 of: Writing CGI Applications with Perl Paperback by
Meltzer, Kevin; Michalski... Paperback
By: Kevin Meltzer (Author), Brent Michalski (Author)

thanks... Jason

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Perl CGI and books
by kutsu (Priest) on Apr 05, 2004 at 19:41 UTC

    Since you've mentioned the books I've read on cgi, I'll add some non-book sources on where to look: Where to learn perl in our tutorials, Ovid's cgi-course (which I highly recommend anyone starting cgi look at) and the WWW Security FAQ.

    "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce

      thanks!!! very useful :-)
Re: Perl CGI and books
by Vautrin (Hermit) on Apr 05, 2004 at 19:30 UTC

    CGI is a protocol to allow executable programs to be run and spit out a web page. You can run Java, C, C++, Python, PHP, COBOL, FORTAN, LISP, Assembler, and whatever other language you know as a CGI program. (Although some languages are better for the purpose then others, and some languages (like PHP and Java (JSP)) have built in server site scripting, so you don't need to run them as a CGI program)

    If I were you I would seriously consider cancelling your order and getting a subscription to Safari. It'll probably be cheaper, and if you don't like a book or you think you've read enough about something already, you can just skip it.

    Also, all does is provide functions to spit out HTML. You should make sure that your HTML and Perl (and CSS) is strong, and then you should work with the basics of CGI programs. Roll your own without using as a learning tool, and then try using it, and learn the strengths and weaknesses. (For instance, a lot of nested tables can make code look like an obfu. However, if you know some CSS you won't need to nest tables (unless you're targeting non CSS compliant browsers)). Also, check out HTML::Template

    Want to support the EFF and FSF by buying cool stuff? Click here.
      I was unaware of O'Reilly's Safari so thanks! Personally, I prefer physical books.. (don't need a battery to read a book ;-) I'm buying used books so the prices are low....

      point taken on the HTML, Perl and CSS... :-)


        Anything that you want in print or as a reference can be printed up without violating the Safari TOS. I have found that many times I'll get a book on Safari and be like "I'm glad I didn't buy it, better delete it from my shelf", or I'll only refer to a couple sections of a book over and over again. Those that I actually use the whole book for (For instance, Mastering Perl/Tk) I actually buy. I've found it's saved me quite a bit of money and increased the average quality of my bookshelf quite a bit.

        Want to support the EFF and FSF by buying cool stuff? Click here.
Re: Perl CGI and books
by jdtoronto (Prior) on Apr 05, 2004 at 20:12 UTC

    Take book 2 on your list and be very careful NOT to read it. It makes an excellent doorstop, paperweight or some such other thing. Sadly I purchased a copy on the recomendation of a friend and it is full of bad advice and bad code.

    The mouse book, #1 on your list, is good, but now somewhat dated. The blue book (number 3) is a good reference, but using on its own is very limiting.

    Meltzer and Michalski is useful and possibly one of the better "also ran" books.

    Also look for a book by Paul DuBois - Perl and MySQL for the web, it gives lots of good advice on wiriting CGI applications beyond the simple form. Apart form that you can try most of these books on Safari, it has been useful for me so I have no hesitation in recomending it.


      Good catch

      I too made the mistake of buying Matt Wright's book when I was first dipping my toes into Perl. Fortunately for me, grep worked at the same place and slapped me repeatedly about the head and neck, dusted me off and aimed me towards much better sources of info (c.l.p.m., Perl Monks,, and the Llama and Camel books).


      @a = ("a".."z"," ","-","\n");foreach $b ( 12,0,17,10,24,12,14,14,13,26,8,18,26,0,26, 22,0,13,13,0,27,1,4,26,15,4,17,11,26,7,0, 2,10,4,17) {print $a[$b]};print $a[28];
      The 2nd book was only $4 so I'm not too worried about it being a door stop. ;-) I have Perl & MySQL for the web but haven't gotten around to digging into it quite yet. I will sign up for Safari tonight when I get home.



      No one has seen what you have seen, and until that happens, we're all going to think that you're nuts. - Jack O'Neil, Stargate SG-1

Re: Perl CGI and books
by toma (Vicar) on Apr 06, 2004 at 03:21 UTC
    I made my own CGI book by printing the POD for these modules:
    • CGI
    • CGI::Application
    • HTML::Template
    I have invested in a good three-hole punch. These POD pages fit nicely in a binder, with dividers at the start of each module. I dream that someday I will have the skills and equipment to bind my own books, or find a service that will make one-off books for me for cheap.

    It should work perfectly the first time! - toma
Re: Perl CGI and books
by davorg (Chancellor) on Apr 06, 2004 at 14:05 UTC

    One good introduction that people often miss is John Callender's Perl for Web Site Management. It's probably overlooked because the title is so bad.

    Other than that, I just have reiterate what other people have said about Matt Wright's book. Don't even open it until you've read all of the other ones. Only then will you be in a position to see just how bad it is.


    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

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