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

My Dearest Monks, I know that you have probably been asked this question a million times before, but I would like to learn perl and am wondering the best way to go about it. I have invested in "Learning Perl" by O'Reilly and have started to read through, but do you think that this is the best way to learn perl? (or any programming language for that matter). How did you guys/gals learn perl? Please help. Thanks

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Learning Perl?
by merlyn (Sage) on Sep 05, 2003 at 19:34 UTC
    I learned Perl by:
    • Staring at the manpage for Perl version 1
    • Staring at the manpage for Perl version 2 (all 10 pages of it)
    • Rewriting all my shell and emacs-lisp hacks as Perl
    • Answering questions in comp.unix.shell with Perl
    • Being on the alpha-test team for Perl version 3
    • Reading through the updated manpages for version 3 very carefully
    • Opening my mouth when Larry announced that he might write up some sort of additional documentation to say I'd help him with it, which eventually became the first Camel book
    • Studying Perl very deeply inside and out while writing that first Camel
    • Sending lots of emails to Larry
    • Writing about Perl incorrectly, only to be corrected by Larry
    • Writing a course for a california training company
    • Presenting said course
    • Turning the course into the first Llama book
    • Creating a different course from the Llama book
    • Presenting that course in front of tens of thousands of people over the years
    • Turning that course and others like it into the world's leading on-site and open-enrollment training company
    • Studying the "perldelta" manpage and diff -ru's of the sources very carefully as each new release comes out
    • Rewriting the camel once, and the llama twice
    • Contributing to the shiny ball book, and that OOP book from down under
    • Writing the alpaca book
    • Reviewing a dozen other Perl books
    • Working for a dozen clients over the years as a Perl hacker
    • Writing over 170 magazine articles
    • Answering 3000+ posts here
    • Answering an uncountable number of Usenet postings
    • Answering dozens of perl-beginner mailing list posts
    • Answering thousands of private emails
    • Attending 7 TPCs and 2 YAPCs and nearly 20 GeekCruises
    • Visiting roughtly a hundred different Perl Monger events
    • Hanging out with the boards of TPI and PM after founding them
    • Paying attention to search.cpan.org's "recent module" list
    • Reading the more interesting module details from that list

    And I still have a lot to learn.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
    Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

      Lol! Thanks, merlyn, that made my day. Just goes to show that everyone learns in different ways... :)

      So it's that easy!?

      Well, shit. Why am I in school?
      How did you founding PM?
Re: Learning Perl?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Sep 05, 2003 at 20:15 UTC

    The first question: Is this your first programming language?

    • If you answered no

      Dig out some of your favorite programs that you have written in other language(s) and convert them to perl. Start with the simple ones and work your way up. It is always easier to start with something you are familiar with than trying to do something new in a new language.

      If your previous language was C,C++, Pascal, Basic, Shell script or any of a dozen other languages you should find the transition to Perl reasonably easy and (if your like me) once you get over the basic syntax hurdles, a joy. Once you get passed some of the more unintuative bits of syntax, you will probably find Perl a revalation in terms of the ease with which many things that are hard to do in other languages seem to simply fall into place with Perl.

    • If you answer Yes.

      Start at the beginning. Work through "Learning Perl" step-by-step.

      Dont just copy the programs in the book and type them in, but play with them. Try and make them more personnal. Add your name, adjust the way they work to suit you.

      Don't be afraid to try things, and don't be put off if they don't work first time.

      Don't be afraid to ask. If you get stuck, post your (small) programs and ask here.

      Write lots of small programs rather than a few big ones. The big ones come later.

    Have fun and good luck!

    Examine what is said, not who speaks.
    "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
    "When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." -Richard Buckminster Fuller
    If I understand your problem, I can solve it! Of course, the same can be said for you.

Re: Learning Perl?
by jdtoronto (Prior) on Sep 05, 2003 at 19:32 UTC
    Hey katch

    Look around the monastery! It is possibly the best Perl education you will find.

    Have Learning Perl very close by.

    Get copies of 'Effective Perl Programming' (Hall & Schwartz) and 'Perl Cookbook' (Christiansen & Torkington) also by O'Reilly. Sit down with a large mug of coffee or whatever, and start on something!

    Use the search ans SuperSearch functions here in the monastery, in particular look in the Tutorials, Code and Meditations sections. They are an absolute Gold Mine of good stuff.

    I spent years programming Perl working mainly fro other peoples examples and just about ANY Perl book I could find, then I found this place. I have learned more here in a few short months just by reading, let alone what I have learned form asking questions!

    Good Luck


Re: Learning Perl?
by ChrisR (Hermit) on Sep 05, 2003 at 19:38 UTC
    I am a firm believer that people learn best by doing. However, if you have no idea what you are doing the learning curve may get the better of you. I think you have taken the first step correctly ("Learning Perl" by O'Reilly). Try these steps:
    1) read a lot
    2) code a little
    3) test a lot
    4) repeat
    There are many other resources to help you other than books, although it's hard to beat some of the O'Reilly books like "Programming Perl", "CGI Programming with Perl", "Advanced Perl Programming", "Perl Cookbook", "Programming the Perl DBI", etc. There is also an excellent book by Lincoln Stein called "Network Programming with Perl". Other resources may include www.PerlMonks.org, of course, www.perldoc.com, learn.perl.org and Google. Good luck and remember "There's more than one way to do it."

    There's another good book I forgot to mention. It has nothing to do with Perl but everything to do with programming (even though it wasn't written for that purpose). It's called "A Whack on the Side of the Head" by Roger Von Oech. This book will help you unlock the mind for innovation and push you in the right direction for developing logical algorithms It goes right along with the idea of "There's more than one way to do it".
Re: Learning Perl?
by bradcathey (Prior) on Sep 05, 2003 at 22:08 UTC
    Writing Perl programs is not hard. Writing them well is. I'm just finding that out now, after hanging around the Monastery for a few months. And what I'm finding out is how much I don't know, which is embarrassing, especially when reading the amazing stuff you'll see here.

    Having said that, I did read Learning Perl, but now I reading it again! I have and use Programming Perl, but that, for me, is like reading the Bible in the original languages. Just ordered the Perl Cookbook and looking forward that. Also, keep a copy of Perl Pocket Reference handy.

    Also recommend you read the fantastic tutorial on reg exp on PerlDoc by Mark Kvale (my printout is in tatters). And, of course, snoop around the Monastery reading tutorials, monk's scratch pads, etc.

    Watch out for books like Perl and CGI by Castro (apologies to Elizabeth and fans). They can help you get started quickly, and serve as quick reminders, but they really don't teach you how to write great code.

    That's my view from towards the bottom looking upwards. Oh, to be able to understand even half of what I see here.

Re: Learning Perl?
by naChoZ (Curate) on Sep 05, 2003 at 19:51 UTC
      Much obliged for your kind remarks, naChoz. Though, when I look at Where and how... again, it seems to be handling more the "where" part than the "how" part. This thread answers that better.

      Following the links in Where and how... is just what I am doing now and it helps me quite a bit. By now I can take a look at (new) nodes in japhs, Snippets Section, Code Catacombs and Craft and see if I understand them. If I don't, I take my links and books until I get a grasp (or more).

      When I learned Perl the first time, I had to make scripts to read logs, to handle forms, to send emails, to access a database (mmm, what did we start with, mSQL?), to keep and show statistics. Difficult but fun.

      Having a goal helps a lot. For me, at the moment one of my main goals is to build a web shop, user and product database, moderated discussion forum ad so on. Not by just take the "easy" road right away and take one of the many modules and examples that are around, because now I can't distinguish between rubbish and pearly bits, so maybe later.

      I've got no questions yet for Seekers of Perl Wisdom, but there's a lot to learn there too. Answers to most questions I could ask can be found there, after searching just a tiny while.

      By the way, that's often the right answer to questions that are asked here. Search and find and read and learn and experiment. Search first, ask later.

        All too true. I'm the same way, I need a goal, some sort of project to motivate me. Currently, mainemenu.com is my pet project. I started it as a project to learn some php, but I got my fill of that pretty quickly and am converting over to perl now. So far I've figured out the goodness of HTML::Template and I'm beginning to get a handle on Class::DBI.

        Perhaps you could apply some of useful tidbits from this thread to your post. Especially since, as of this writing, the vote is 5/54/0 in favor of moving it to a more permanent section of the monastary.

        "I just read perlman:perlboot," said Tom, objectively.

Re: Learning Perl?
by phydeauxarff (Priest) on Sep 05, 2003 at 19:35 UTC
    Hang out here....lots of folks have already gone before you

    There's Learning Perl

    and Learning Perl

    plus many, many more examples you could find by searching...just dive in and read, read, read (supersearch is your friend) and then find something you want to do and start writing some code...make mistakes....ask questions...and most of all, enjoy!

    Oh and of course....I would be remiss if I didn't suggest you check out merlyn's articles ;-)

Re: Learning Perl?
by Steve_p (Priest) on Sep 06, 2003 at 02:00 UTC

    From my experience, the best programmers are almost completely self-taught, so welcome to a difficult, but highly rewarding path. Overall, the best way to learn how to program is to program. I think the choice of Learning Perl is a good one for learning Perl, but, no offence to Merlyn, its not one of the best for learning to program. Of course, I don't believe that was its purpose.

    This topic has come up a few times, so rather than repeat myself, check out what I have to say there. I would add one new book to that list. After going through How to Design Programms (it's free online), I'd suggest going through a newer book called Understanding Unix/Linux Programming: A Guide to Theory and Practice. All I could say about this book when reading it was, "Wow!" I learned a lot from it and truly wish I had it when I was much younger.

      ... Learning Perl is a good one for learning Perl, but, no offence to Merlyn, its not one of the best for learning to program
      That's completely correct. I didn't write Learning Perl to learn to program, although people have used it for that. I wrote it for programmers to learn to program in Perl. If you don't know what an array or a subroutine is, you probably will get lost from time to time in the Llama.

      I learned to program when I was 8. That's too long ago for me to remember what I was doing to learn, so I really can't write about it or teach it. All I can do is write about what I have recently learned, like Perl.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

Re: Learning Perl?
by gwadej (Chaplain) on Sep 06, 2003 at 02:43 UTC

    Most of my best answers have already been covered. But if you are forced to work in a MS Windows environment, you might prefer Learning Perl on Win32 Systems (the Gecko Book).

    It is mostly equivalent to Learning Perl with most of the Unix-isms replaced with Win32-isms. I know several people that had no Unix background that found the Gecko book easier to learn from than the other.

    I can't say which is better to learn from because I learned Perl from the Camel Book (1st edition).

    As for learning programming languages in general, I find that learning the syntax takes a relatively small amount of time. Learning to write Perl code in Perl (as opposed to writing something else in Perl) requires time and experience.

    Some of that experience must be gained through writing code. But one of the best ways to gain that experience (without making all of the mistakes yourself <grin/>) is to read as much good code as you can get your hands on. Then read as much bad code as you can get your hands on. Once you understand the difference, you will find that you can write code in a way that works with the language, not against it.

    G. Wade

      The Gecko book has been obsoleted by the third edition of Learning Perl. We worked very hard to eliminate any particular Unix-isms from the book, and Activestate have worked hard to eliminate any Win-32-isms from the core Perl.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

        Oh terrific! Just what I need!

        Now I'm going to have to get the new version as well.<grin/>

        I've gotten both of the previous editions to make certain I know what I'm talking about when someone asks about a good book for learning Perl. Now I'll need to upgrade my books.<sigh/>

        G. Wade

      I wanted to write a program for a 21st century Family Photo and History Book. Chose Perl only because my brother said it could be done in Perl, no other reason.

      Grabbed the Learning Perl, Programming Perl, Perl Cookbook (the most helpful IMO), Perl/TK and then a bunch more (mostly OReilly) books. Bought a bunch of computer parts and figured out how to make Linux work. I read all kinds of MAN stuff in the Bash Shell in Linux. There are alot of answers there. Used Google a gazillion times. Just kept writing code until it all worked, then have kept improving it.

      Year and a half later, I gotta say I am astounded by Perl, and had no clue what a cool thing I was learning.
Re: Learning Perl?
by BrentDax (Hermit) on Sep 06, 2003 at 08:35 UTC
    I first started learning Perl in my high school Website Development class, in my freshman year. The teacher covered CGI with Perl in the last few weeks of the semester, and the notion of truly programming a Web page struck a chord in me--so much so that, when the final exam was assigned (create a site for Krusty Burger from "The Simpsons" in two hours), I implemented it as a Perl/CGI app.

    From there, I bought Learning Perl (Second Edition--that's what they had at the time) and read it on a cruise. Yes, I learned it without having a computer handy. I eventually got Camel II (III hadn't come out yet) and read it.

    I spent a year or two hacking Perl for CGI before I started doing serious work with it. I don't really remember how I found PM, but it proved to be an excellent resource, and for a fairly long period was the site I spent most of my time on.

    I eventually made an effort to get involved in the Perl 6 development work, and wormed my way into a position of some significance. I also tried to learn about Perl 5 internals by hacking on Perl 5. Suffice it to say, that project is still in progress...

    Even today, though, I still don't know the whole language. pack() and unpack() are mysteries to me (my Perl Geek Code says that I pack and unpack my suitcase), and I'm still constantly looking up all sorts of nonsense in the docs. I've never used most of the system-specific stuff, like getpwnam(). The list goes on...

    --Brent Dax
    There is no sig.

Re: Learning Perl?
by Popcorn Dave (Abbot) on Sep 06, 2003 at 06:05 UTC
    The way I learned Perl was at first, trial and error and LOTS of questions on Usenet. Then I found out my local community college had a Perl course and I got a semester of Perl for about $16 per course. Of course prices have gone up a bit now - I think it's $22 a unit, but still a bargain!

    There is no emoticon for what I'm feeling now.

Re: Learning Perl?
by WhiteBird (Hermit) on Sep 06, 2003 at 00:00 UTC
    Just want to add that if Perl is your first programming language you might find it helpful to read a few books on Logic and Program Design or take a class in the subject. Apart from knowing the specific syntax and structure of any language, it is always helpful to have a good idea of how a program should flow and be able to identify and use correct programming structures. I took a class, which helped me a great deal. Other monks may be able to recommend some good books on the subject.
Re: Learning Perl?
by thelenm (Vicar) on Sep 06, 2003 at 05:12 UTC

    I learned Perl by forcing myself to use it. I have to get my hands dirty if I'm ever going to remember how to do something. Every time I wanted to write a shell script or C++ program to do something, I forced myself to do it in Perl instead. If I didn't know how to do something, I searched the perldocs and the Web until I figured out how to do it. After a few months of this, I had become comfortable enough with Perl that it became my first tool of choice for lots of tasks where I formerly would have used something else. So my advice is: force yourself to use it, every day, and take the time and effort not to let yourself slip back into whatever else you may be comfortable using.

    -- Mike

    XML::Simpler does not require XML::Parser or a SAX parser. It does require File::Slurp.
    -- grantm, perldoc XML::Simpler

Re: Learning Perl?
by kiat (Vicar) on Sep 06, 2003 at 08:19 UTC
    I tend to think of learning perl - or any other programming languages for that matter - like learning a language. You get better the longer your experience is with it and the more you use it.

    At the beginning stage, it's a bit like a child learning to speak. The child has limited vocabulary and mastery of the grammar but yet succeeds in conveying his ideas. He'll makes mistakes (over-generation, for example, when he says things that "I eated" instead of "I ate") but overtime, he'll make corrections and become more proficient in the language.

    He can do that because of constant interaction with the language. I think learning to program is the same. You start by writing simple programs using whatever knowledge of perl you know at the initial stage. As you become more familiar with the language, you'll discover better ways of coding which had previously not occurred to you. You can hasten that learning process not just by coding more, but by reading books and other people's code.
Re: Learning Perl?
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 06, 2003 at 05:17 UTC
    I liked Perl by Example by Ellie Quigley. It's on its third edition, but personally, I enjoyed the first edition. It was far more compact. But the beauty of Perl by Example is that it shows you:

    1) The source code of a program line by line - with explanation.

    2) The output of the program after its been executed, line by line - with explanation.

    You could actually read this book and learn without even being near an editor, Perl interpreter, or a computer for that matter. I have given away several copies of the first edition, and picked up the latest edition as a helper/reference for the office.
Re: Learning Perl?
by davido (Cardinal) on Sep 06, 2003 at 19:04 UTC
    Everybody learns differently, which is, in part, demonstrated by the existance of bright and motivated kids failing in certain subjects as taught in school, only to find later that they really have a knack for it when they approach the problem a different way. Many great minds have been poor performers at one style of learning, and excelled beyond anyone's expectations in another style of learning. What works for one, doesn't necessarily work for everyone. That said, there are principles that are applicable to just about everyone (everyone capable of learning in the first place, that is).

    What I feel is probably the most important philosophy behind learning anything, Perl included, is keeping an open mind. This is the notion of teachability. The chances are strong that if someone explains a 'best way' to do something in Perl, and you disagree, with much less experience than the 'expert', you probably are not fully comprehending the whole problem. Stay open to proven methods. Just because it's cool to be different in High School doesn't make the herd always wrong. That isn't to say that fresh ideas can't lead to innovation. It simply means that there is usually no need to invent a round thingy with a tire on it and a hub in the center, when a wheel already exists. The existing wheel may be improved upon and better tailored for your situation, but you may as well start with the wheels that you find in the store first, so you can fully understand in what ways it needs to be adapted to your situation. There's no need to go through the steps of developing a log, and then a skid, and then a sled, and then a sled with runners, and finally realize that the whole contraption is incapable of travelling at 80mph because of friction, and that wheels would have been better all along, just like everyone's been saying.

    Of course early explorers had to kick against the pricks to discover new horizons beyond the ends of the earth. But they first became experts in navigation, and learned firsthand exactly why traditions were wrong. Don't expect to be the expert who knows best until you understand why everyone else thinks the way they do. Early explorers understood that people believed the world was flat, and that it had ends, because they understood that in fact, its roundness gave the impression of an end called the horizon. And in understanding that, they found new horizons. You too may discover new horizons, but you must first understand what a horizon is.

    Now I can explain how I have engaged in my effort to learn Perl. I am still engaged in that effort, as long as Perl remains a topic of interest and efficient tool of implement, I will continue to learn, so long as I continue with an effort to hone my skill. There is no end to the process of gaining wisdom, just as there is no end to what we now understand to be the Universe (well, ok, maybe there is, but we'll never get there).

    • Read. Some of the books out there are lousy. But there are some true gems, written by some of the greatest minds on the subject. The more popular books undergo occasional revisions and withstand the firey furnace of real world test by the hundreds of thousands of people who read them. The books I have found to be of most value to me are, Learning Perl, Programming Perl, Mastering Regular Expressions, and The Perl Cookbook. I am certain that Advanced Perl Programming, and many other books published by O'Reilly are equally fantastic as I discover new areas of understanding to explore. O'Reilly is not the only good publisher, and there are many other good books out there. But they seem to be the publisher capable of gaining the cooperation of the founding fathers of whatever topic a particular book is intended to cover.
    • Read Usenet and the posts that come through this site. You will be able to see discussions that explore many areas of understanding that you never even considered. Light bulbs will come on, ideas will spring into your mind. You will see some do things "the wrong way", and others do things in many "right ways". It's all great experience.
    • Read the Perl documentation. Some of it is written for Mr. Spock. But some of it is also written for you. And the more you learn, the more you will find is within your relm of comprehension. Don't be afraid of the Perl documentation. My secret has been to download it to my PDA in HTML format, so that I can use the PDA as a handheld reference to all of Perl's documentation and FAQ's. It is surprising how much good information is taught in the FAQ's. It is surprising how many mistakes are made, and questions asked by folks who simply haven't tried to find the answer on their own. You will learn an awful lot by reading POD.
    • Learn the science of computer languages, computer networking, and so on. Many questions that start "How do I..." are not necessarily Perl questions, but are more general Computer Science questions. The principles of algorithms, flow, and code structure are applicable across a broad range of languages. Consider Perl, the trees, and the broader relm of Computer Science, the forest. The forest exists in a world. But before you can be good at finding your way through trees, you must see the forest, and before you can be good at finding your way through forests (plural), you must understand the world out there.
    • Come up with an idea and write some code. I know I just said not to reinvent the wheel, but why not start by trying to rewrite some of the core utilities in your operating system? That doesn't mean you're going to write production code, but you're going to be forced to think through strategies, and create solutions. Once you begin this process, it's time to read more, and maybe even ask your first question.
    • Ask questions. Not the same questions that you can find by Googling or searching, but the kind of questions that you have trouble finding an answer to. There are plenty of good questions. There are plenty of FAQ ones too. Try to learn the distinction, and you will find that others are very helpful. Forget that principle, and you're likely to catch flack.
    • Don't try to be the social anomoly. The world is full of people, and each person believes he or she is different from everyone else. But in the aggregate people are largely the same. It's likely that ones problem has a solution that has been considered already. It's possible that ones personality is not as uncommon as he or she thinks it is, and it's even likely that ones attempts to defy social norms, or think outside the box, have already been tested. The good ones have succeeded, and the others have nose rings and no jobs, spending their days trying to push hippie pseudo-art at Venice Beach (no offense; I'm sure it's a great lifestyle to some).
    • Answer questions online. Just be sure you're right. In other words, look at other peoples' questions, work your way through their problem, and once you're confident that you've got it right, post your answer. If you're wrong, you'll certanly hear about it. If you're right, you've helped someone. And either way you've learned something. I'm not condoning posting crap (mistruths). I'm saying, take the time to learn the answer, and then give it. By undergoing the process, you will expand your knowlege into areas you hadn't previously considered.

    Sorry to have become so long winded, but my point to all this is that you can apply the same principles to learning Perl that you apply to learning any other broad, intricate subject. And most of all, don't give up.


    "If I had my life to do over again, I'd be a plumber." -- Albert Einstein

Re: Learning Perl?
by Drgan (Beadle) on Sep 06, 2003 at 11:14 UTC
    I used to think that Learning Perl published by O'Reilly was a horrible way to Learn Perl as well but that's because I hated paper. Paper is such a horrible thing. Finally, my girlfriend kept trying to convince me that I should actually read and now that I have, man am I loving it. I wasn't too fond of 2nd edition and apparently Randal wasn't either, hehe. Even he suggested that I obtain the 3rd edition and I'm very glad that I did. Props to my buddy out there. He got Randal to sign it for me! :) No, I would have to say that is I should repent and I guess that what I'm doing now. Maybe I'm going to be a bit unrealistic here but here's the answer. . .
    There is no other way to learn. Definitely read Learning Perl 3rd Edition.
    "I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High." - Psalms 82:6
Re: Learning Perl?
by Louis_Wu (Chaplain) on Sep 07, 2003 at 07:20 UTC
    You've made a great first step, buying Learning Perl. And the recommendations for the Perl Cookbook, 2nd ed. are also excellent - it is a great source of quality code which solves problems. BTW, the 2nd edition just came out this month, most stores probably still carry the original.

    This question has been asked before, and I answered it once. I included a small list of tutorials and guidelines, and some instructions on how to search for more. Give it a peak.

    When you're done with the Llama, you'll probably be wanting to get into bigger programming, modules, OO, etc. Check out merlyn's Learning Perl Objects, References & Modules - the Alpaca. I just brought it home, and I expect to spend many profitable hours with it and my powerbook.

    Perl programming and scheduling in the corporate world, as explained by dragonchild:
    "Uhh ... that'll take me three weeks, broken down as follows: 1 day for coding, the rest for meetings to explain why I only need 1 day for coding."
Re: Learning Perl?
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 06, 2003 at 12:49 UTC
    I started with that book then I grabbed the Camel book... Learning Perl is a good start, it covers the syntax and basics prety well... OO Perl is the way to aim when your done tho.... (And that is going to be way better in Perl 6).
Re: Learning Perl?
by Roger (Parson) on Sep 06, 2003 at 13:46 UTC
    I thorough recommend the book Perl by Example, it is an excellent book with example-by-example, line-by-line analysis of perl codes, an excellent way to learn Perl quickly, and an excellent reference book as well. The book has many well chosen examples.
Re: Learning Perl?
by katch (Acolyte) on Sep 06, 2003 at 19:01 UTC
    Dear Monks, I would like to thank you all for your wealth of knowledge that you have shared with me, it has certainly made me realise without a doubt that perl is the correct language for me. I also cant believe what a strong community perl has, it is quite amazing. Im not tricking myself into believing that this will be an easy ride, but after following your advice, I have realised that there are many sources of information out there that will aid me, and that there are many different ways of learning. Thank you once again.
Re: Learning Perl?
by data64 (Chaplain) on Sep 06, 2003 at 22:50 UTC

    I learned Perl from a combination of the Learning Perl book and writting short utility programs.

    Just a tongue-tied, twisted, earth-bound misfit. -- Pink Floyd

Re: Learning Perl?
by smalhotra (Scribe) on Sep 09, 2003 at 22:56 UTC
    Aah...this reminds me: Someone on usenet once asked Larry if he had learned perl by reading the source code. St. Larry modestly repsponded: "Unfortunately the source code was not there when I needed it most."

    $will->code for @food or $$;

Re: Learning Perl?
by Overthruster (Initiate) on Sep 09, 2003 at 23:49 UTC
    I've found reading the perldocs to be the message to put one on the true path. Whenever you are wondering how something works, write a 1 to 10 line test perl snippet to find out. In my perl development, I always have test.pl and test2.pl lying in my working directory.
Re: Learning Perl?
by phax (Initiate) on Sep 10, 2003 at 05:07 UTC
    I'd say hang out here. Once finished with Learning Perl get the O'Reilly Advanced Perl and just search here. I'm very new to Perl but still learning thou the Perl Pocket Reference is good to have to look at when you're some where and very bored. Think of how to write small simple scripts. From memory of what you read. It's not a bug-it's an undocumented feature :D