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Pro Perl

  • Pro Perl
  • Apress
  • 159059438X

(In the review copy I read, there still were some unfortunate typos that might confuse someone completely new to Perl. I hope those will be fixed before the actual publication. None of them bothered me, but they could be bad for someone starting with no experience at all.)

This is an excellent Perl book. I really like the author's way of explaining concepts with clear and to-the-point examples. Unlike the Camel Book, which is full of Perl insider references and puns, Peter Wainwright explains things clearly and illustrates with practical examples.

In the introduction, the author says:

"Programmers who already have some experience in Perl will discover things they didn't know in the chapters that follow, but can nonetheless safely skip this introduction."

I though that was a bit cheeky. I'm no Perl wizard, and I'm sure that there will always be things I can learn from the experts, but still: that just felt a little boastful to me. I was wrong. I hadn't even got half-way through the third chapter before I realized that. I kept muttering "Really?" while switching away to test something I just hadn't known before. That surprised me (pleasantly, of course).

The danger for someone like me in a book like this is the natural tendency to skip quickly through what you think you already know. If you've been dabbling in Perl for a few years as I have, there WILL be a lot you already know, but as the author promised, there's also plenty that you probably don't. I picked up quite a few useful bits in almost every chapter and have promised myself to go back and re-read to find the things I shouldn't have skipped over.

One thing I look for specifically now is security information. There is no specific "Security" chapter here, but security concepts are mentioned throughout. That's very important in today's unfriendly environment. There's no specific chapter on using Perl for CGI scripts either, but again, there are plenty of examples that reference CGI and the Web (and of course particularly so in the context of security).

Overall, highly recommended for anyone using Perl at a less than expert level. That's probably a lot of us, and certainly includes me.

Tony Lawrence 2005/04/01 Rating: 4.5

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© Tony Lawrence

Thu Apr 21 14:46:05 2005: 358   anonymous

As "Learning Perl" is the most popular tutorial book for Perl, how would you compare this book to that?

Thu Apr 21 15:01:51 2005: 359   TonyLawrence

Rough grit sandpaper vs. final fine polishing.

You need to learn Perl first, then a book like this can hone your skills.

Mon May 2 05:45:24 2005: 419   anonymous

If this is after "Learning Perl" then, what about the sequel to Learning Perl? How does it compare to that?

Mon May 2 10:26:46 2005: 420   TonyLawrence

I would say it is slightly more advanced than "Learning Perl"

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