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Good way to start learning Perl?

by drewboy (Sexton)
on Jul 24, 2001 at 09:58 UTC ( #99243=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

i would like to take formal courses on Perl. been searching everywhere on the net but couldn't find anything. to the perl gurus... what did you do to get you started? do i have to go through serious computer programming first? whatcha think?

any good schools you know of here in new york city? <--important!



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Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by bwana147 (Pilgrim) on Jul 24, 2001 at 13:47 UTC

    I don't know whether this is the good way, but I got started by reading the manpage: perldoc perl, which gives you a list of other manpages to read, in order: perlsyn for syntax, perldata for data structures, perlop for operators, perlsub for writing functions, etc.

    With this, you can start writing your own programs. They're likely to look ugly at first, but that's ok. They'll improve with time.

    Once you know the basics, I advise you haunt the Monastery, or you subscribe to some Perl Mongers mailing list (if they talk tech stuff, that is). I learnt a hell of a lot by lurking on the Paris Perl Mongueurs' mailing list. This is one of the best ways I know of improving your expressiveness, your fluency in Perl. For instance, perlop will sure tell you about the ||=, but I had to read someone else's post to discover that it could be used to give default values.

    Finally, buy (and read) books: the Camel Book seems a must have to me. It explains all the nifty features you knew would work but always wondered how. The Cookbook is also a very good read.

    Just my two €0.02


Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Jul 24, 2001 at 16:27 UTC
    I'm going to start teaching my girlfriend how to program and I've purchased a copy of Learning Perl (aka the Llama book) to do so. Now, she doesn't know any programming at all, so that's the better book for her. Programming Perl (aka the Camel book) is much better for someone who already knows a language (preferably C/C++/JAVA), and that's what I've used when teaching colleagues Perl.

    As for what to do? Read the Camel book once through. Just take the 6 hours, sit down, and read it. Then, go through again and read it, this time doing examples of things you're seeing. Play with it. Then, start doing whatever project you had in mind to learn Perl for. (You did have a project in mind, right?

Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by perchance (Monk) on Jul 24, 2001 at 15:35 UTC
    I think the question might be better phrased as:
    "Good way to start Learning Perl?"
    Please note: Third Edition is out, but FatBrain may not have caught on yet. Amazon have it out.

    I know some people consider the book rudimentary, I personally think it's a great tutor for beginners, and a good reference for your first months as a Perl programmer.(Prior knowledge helpful, as in everything, but not necessary).

Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by Sherlock (Deacon) on Jul 24, 2001 at 20:30 UTC
    The other monks have definitely given some great advice as to how to learn Perl. I don't think you really need to have any prior programming experience to learn it (of course, it doesn't hurt, either). I would recommend picking up either Learning Perl (if you're very new to programming) or Programming Perl (if you feel more confortable with programming).

    One thing I'd like to point out to you, though, is that you shouldn't forget about the Monastery. This is an incredible resource of code snippets, thoughts, and Q&A for everyone from beginning programmers to experienced coders. I only urge you to try to learn things on your own at first. If you run into problems, try to solve them and, if you can't, come to PerlMonks. I'm sure everyone would be more than happy to help you out. The only bad thing you can do would be to use PerlMonks like a crutch. If you come here and ask about every little question, some of the monks might become rather unresponsive to your plight (to put it gently). Take a look at yBic's home node. He has some excellent resources that will teach you about how to use PerlMonks and how to get the most out of your visits here.

    Good luck learning Perl and I hope to see you around more often.

    - Sherlock

    Skepticism is the source of knowledge as much as knowledge is the source of skepticism.
Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by aquacade (Scribe) on Jul 24, 2001 at 22:31 UTC
    A fairly new web resource for beginners, sponsored by the Perl Mongers can be found at:
    You can also subscribe to the Perl beginners maillist and post any beginner questions there.
    Hang on and keep trying!
Re: Good way to start learning Perl?
by drewboy (Sexton) on Jul 25, 2001 at 21:48 UTC
    all of you have been very supportive! thanks, i think i'll have to begin with the llama book first before i head on to the camel book. i just graduated from design school and is currently messing around with a search engine software. to tell you the truth, i'm hooked to perl! i dunno which career path i should take right now, but perl is certainly in that picture. thanks again gurus!

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