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© November 2005 Anthony Lawrence

Beginning Web Development with Perl

November 2005

While Perl may not be the "cool" language for websites anymore, there are some of us who prefer to work with it because we use it for so many other tasks. I've done PHP, and toyed with other things, but I always come back to Perl because it's where I'm most comfortable.

Steve Suehring is very direct and to the point. There's little or no fluff here, no wasted words. The assumption is that you know Perl, though there is a fifty or so page appendix that covers Perl basics.

I liked that Steve mentioned security almost immediately and never stopped bringing that up when appropriate. That's so important nowadays. Almost every section has a "Security Considerations" paragraph or two.

The use of "Beginning" in the title is a little misleading. I suppose they probably chose that to avoid scaring off newbies, but really this isn't just for beginners at all. It actually covers quite a lot of ground, taking you from basic use of the CGI module right through using LWP and SOAP, reading and writing RSS and developing websites with templates. Steve covers just about everything that might come up, from databases to sending and reading mail, checking DNS, and more. That's a lot to handle in a few hundred pages, but Steve does it well.

The code examples are clear, well chosen, and short enough to be easily digested. As a web site owner, I appreciated that Steve was sensitive to the issue of banging at web sites to test code and suggested simple methods to avoid that when possible.

I can easily recommend this. My review was of a pre-publication proof copy, but I don't expect much to change at final release. I learned quite a bit from this and will happily add this to my bookshelf when it is actually published.

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