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Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?

by ghenry (Vicar)
on Jul 27, 2005 at 09:00 UTC ( #478516=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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

If I (think I) know all of Learning Perl 3rd Edn., should I upgrade to the 4th Edn.

Not sure, but it now covers 5.8.x so some things may of changed.

I wonder if anyone else is having the same thoughts as me?

Walking the road to enlightenment... I found a penguin and a camel on the way.....
Fancy a yourname@perl.me.uk? Just ask!!!
  • Comment on Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?

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Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by Corion (Pope) on Jul 27, 2005 at 09:04 UTC

    To ask with the words of brian d foy: Um, well, gees, didn't you learn Perl from your previous edition?

    I think buying a new edition of the same book is only good if you can look at what the new edition offers you. Personally, I bought the second edition of Mastering Regular Expressions, because it has lots of ugly details on Unicode and also provides me with a roadmap to the regular expression engines available in those other languages I keep hearing rumors about. But usually, a new edition doesn't provide much new information over the old edition and thus isn't worth the "upgrade".

Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Jul 27, 2005 at 09:14 UTC

    I think you'd get more from merlyn's Alpaca Book, Learning Perl References, Objects, & Modules, than from whatever incremental changes are in the new edition of Learning Perl.

    After Compline,
    Zaxo

      merlyn's Alpaca Book, Learning Perl References, Objects, & Modules

      Er... I think there's a new edition of this one coming up in a couple of months too O:-)

        Shhh... if you stay quiet, ghenry can ask the same question of that title in a couple of months, too. :)

        --
        [ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

        It won't be coming up in a couple of months for a couple of months. Once we hand the finished book to O'Reilly, it takes three months to come off the presses.

        We're not handing in a finished version until at least the end of September. I think seeing it around January is the best bet.

        --
        brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by brian_d_foy (Abbot) on Jul 27, 2005 at 11:44 UTC

    If you've already worked through a previous edition of Learning Perl, you will probably won't get much out of the new edition. The new stuff we added about CPAN and various modules is probably stuff you already know from Perlmonks. The corrections for errata, slight corrections for perl5.8, and additional references to the Perl core documentation might be worth the price for you, but maybe you won't even notice. It's still the 80% of Perl that most people use everyday, and that hasn't changed too much.

    However, check out the book in a bookstore (or in Safari Online, or something else). You can peek inside without making a commitment.

    But, if you want to support a couple or three Perl programmers who make a nickel off every sale... :)

    --
    brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by greenFox (Vicar) on Jul 27, 2005 at 11:49 UTC
Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by Callum (Chaplain) on Jul 27, 2005 at 10:52 UTC
    I would say that there's probably no point.

    Any "Learning" book will only teach you the basics of a topic -- it will serve as an introduction.

    You and Perl have already been introduced, you already know the basics. A new version of of Learning Perl will only re-acquaint you once again, perhaps slightly differently.

    I'd suggest two things -- first buy an older book (namely Programming Perl, the Camel book, the next book along and probably the best Perl (5) book you'll own even if it is a few years old), -- second read perldoc, perldelta will tell you what the version differences are and are a fine way to test your understanding of the language, they'll be a harder read than Learning Perl was but between what you already know, what's covered in Programming Perl, and what's contained in perldoc you'll learn masses about Perl in general and in particular about the changes between 5.6 and 5.8

Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by jynx (Priest) on Jul 27, 2005 at 12:17 UTC

    On a different tack...

    I like to keep the newest Learning Perl about in case i infect anyone at work with the Perl bug. I could just let them learn from the older version, but that would not prepare them as well. Every new iteration seems to be a tad more clear and contain a little bit more that they might want to know.

    my $0.02;
    jynx
Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by cbrandtbuffalo (Deacon) on Jul 27, 2005 at 16:16 UTC
    Generally publishers release new editions because they need to get some more copies of a book out there, but the world has changed so they want to give the author a chance to update things before going to the printer again. When a publisher makes big changes, they usually highlight it prominently in the marketing material to get people to buy the new edition even if they have the old one.

    In the case of an intro book, the question is "If someone was learning Perl today, what would you want to tell them?" The answer changes slightly as time goes on because Perl changes, but it's not a major change.

    As others have mentioned, you have already been introduced to Perl, so you probably don't need the newer version.

Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by wolfger (Deacon) on Jul 27, 2005 at 16:51 UTC

    If you really want to waste some cash, then instead of 4th Edition Llama go buy 2nd Edition Aoudad. Not only is there a book out for something that doesn't quite exist yet, but it's in 2nd edition already! Does anybody else find that to be absurd, or is it just me?

      If any topic needs frequent and multiple editions, it's Perl 6. They could have a new edition every six months and have mostly new material. I think all the of Perl 6 books pre-date Pugs. :)

      --
      brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>

        So we get lock-in to buy new versions perpetually until it's finished/right/complete... Sounds like my least-favorite OS. :-)

Re: Should I upgrade my "Learning Perl" Book?
by donarb (Beadle) on Jul 28, 2005 at 16:18 UTC
    Well, I don't want to sound like an advert for O'Reilly, but another option is their Safari bookshelf. Costs me $15 a month and I have instant access to all the O'Reilly books (as well as books from other publishers such as Addison Wesley and Microsoft Press). The books are updated whenever errata is found or a new edition comes out. It's great for when I need some specialized knowledge for a project, but don't want to buy a whole book for just a few pages of explanation.

    There are a few restrictions such as only 10 books at a time on the shelf and you have to keep a book on the shelf for 30 days. You can even buy tokens that allow you to download a chapter in PDF form, great for getting appendices that contain command syntax. If you really must have the paper version, you can order it at a discount.

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