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© January 1997 Tony Lawrence

Programming Perl

This is the Camel Book, the ultimate Perl reference. If you are doing Perl, you have to own this. If you have the older edition, you need this, the fourth edition.

For the second edition, I wrote:

Unfortunately, if you are learning Perl, you will probably need more than this. Don't misunderstand: this is a wonderful book. The section on how Perl parses regular expressions is a joy in itself, and there are excellent examples of data structures, and enough of everything else to make this a must-have. But for the neophyte, it isn't quite enough. Even with a background in C, and good knowledge of sed and awk (Perl works somewhat like sed and awk on steroids), I found myself somewhat mystified by some of this book until other material straightened me out.

So, if you are learning Perl, you should own this, but do not expect that it will be your only Perl book.

Well, it's still true. I lost my Second Edition somewhere, so I had to buy this, and that's not a bad thing- it forced me to re-read it cover to cover, and that reminded me of things I had forgotten. I also found that I could understand things now that baffled me when I first read the Second Edition, but that's not because this edition explains things any better: it's just because I've had more experience.

There's all together too much forward reference here. You can't understand material at the beginning until you get to the end. That's pretty much OK, becaue usually that is admitted, you are told you need to read about such and such, and you can always go look it up if it is really bugging you. But then there's the cutesy examples: too many are way beyond the comprehension of anyone without a lot of experience, and, for the most part no explanation is given at all- if you are lucky, you get a teeny little hint in the form of an insider joke that you *might* be able to dereference. But don't count on it- there are still "examples" in there that I find completely boggling.

Still, you need to own this if you "do" Perl.

Tony Lawrence 2007-01-01 Rating: 4.5

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