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on December 2, 2005
Review: Advanced Perl Programming

The First Edition of this book is one of my favorite books. For an example of why, it explained anonymous structures clearer than anyplace else I had seen. I have re-read it several times, learning something new with each reading. If you have gotten through "Learning Perl", and want to become an advanced Perl programmer, get yourself a copy of the First Edition.

Why is this book is the "Second Edition" of anything? It bears no resemblance at all to the First Edition. It has a different author, which is the first red flag. Looking inside, we find that all the chapters have different titles, and there is no topic discussed in one book that is discussed in the other. Most of what is in the First Edition is still valid Perl, and important information for a Perl programmer to know. Within a few minutes of learning this Second Edition had been published, I ordered it, based on my love of the First Edition. If I had spent any time looking through it, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

This book covers advanced Perl constructs and topics, but those much less useful to the average "another Perl hacker". It is interesting to know some of the stuff in the 2E, perhaps from an academic perspective, but there is none of the, "Wow, I'm going to use this every day" feeling that I got with the 1E.

To be fair, this book is well written, and clearly explains some things I've "always wondered about". There are several topics covered that I wish had been covered in more depth. For example, there is exactly one sentence about Inline::Java. But, I am glad that I bought it, and will put it on my shelf next to the First Edition. In thinking about it, I would say that this book should have been called, "Advanced Perl Programming, Volume 2" (with two panthers on the front?) Meanwhile, it is true that Sriram's First Edition could use some updating. After Perl 6 is released?
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on February 3, 2007
This book was slated to come out for a long time before it actually did, and I naturally assumed that Simon was working on something ambitious and that it was taking him longer than he planned. I bought it sight-unseen, but quickly discovered it was more of a tour of CPAN than an in-depth book deserving of the title Advanced Perl Programming. I know from his blog that Simon was wrapping up his life to go be a missionary in Japan, so now I think the book was late because he was working on *that* project after he had agreed to write this book. Just speculation.

It reads more like an article on Perl.com or in the Perl Journal, and could easily have been several articles spread out over a few months. I have to wonder if he started the book with the idea that "advanced" means "knowing about useful modules on CPAN" or if the idea came to him sometime after it was clear the book was running late.

Regardless, consider looking at it if you see it in the store. It's not without its value, but I can't see paying for a book that mostly says, "Here's someone else's work to check out." An advanced book ought to be getting into -- well -- advanced techniques, useful info that's hard to come by, something that isn't ALREADY AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE.
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on October 15, 2006
The book is a big disappointment. I picked this book because I had bought the first version few years back and looked for an upgrade. It turns out to be a new book - from content, style, to author. For instance, the 'template tools' chapter is just a recite of the man pages, accompanied with poor examples, and explanation is less than helpful.
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on December 2, 2005
This book is utter trash, you will derive more benefit from reading Learning Perl (4th edition) and Programming Perl.

This book offers nothing in terms of delving into the operational guts of Perl, its philosophy, its parser and guts in general.

The first edition was far and away better, although Siriviam did not explain the concepts behind 'my' and 'local' in its proper origins. But that is irrelevent in terms of comparing the 2nd edition with the first. The 2nd edition is nothing more than Volume 2 to Learning Perl; if you want to become a proficient and professional Perl programmer do not waste your money on the 2nd edition. Get your hands on the first edition and hold on to it until a better alternative comes along.
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on July 20, 2005
Frankly I'm not sure why this is a second edition. It's a completely new book. Where the original book was more of an advanced language features book, this book is much more focused on module use. Neither of which is bad. Perl's CPAN library is one of the features that make the language so attractive. So an entire book dedicated to that is really helpful. And the excellent writing and illustrations help as well.

I recommend both books. If you can get a copy of the first edition on Alibris get that. But don't hesitate getting this book if you are a Perl fan.
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VINE VOICEon August 10, 2005
I started using Perl years ago to help with parsing out data from text files. Soon, I found myself using it for more and more situations where I needed to do a "quick and dirty" routine that could easily be ported to multiple systems. As such, my toolbelt over the years has increased with small modules and snippets of code that I have re-used and shared with others to get out of sticky situations. In "Advanced Perl Programming" the author shares with us his own collection of routines and such to present some of the more advanced, sometimes a bit more difficult, aspects of the language. With Perl, the beauty is that even the most difficult processes, once written, can be re-used multiple times over.

The book goes into detail into some of the modules available for Perl that can take a lot of grunt work out of the programming itself. You'll learn techniques using the HTML, Parsing and RSS libraries to name a few. Find out how to use Globs and Objects within Perl to make your programs more adaptable to emerging programming technologies. There is even a chapter devoted to programming in and event-driven environment, something once related to mostly GUI apps but has thousands of uses in the command-line world.

One of the best chapters for myself was the one on Unit development. Recently, Unit Testing has been one of the more popular methodologies pushed for helping you test your code as your develop. The author goes into detail about how to accomplish this as well as setting up automated tests within Perl itself. Even if you have never heard of unit testing, or test-driven development as it is sometimes called, you will do yourself well to read this chapter more than once. It can teach you some new tricks that even the oldest dogs amongst us like myself can learn from.

A really good technique book that will help the intermediate and advanced Perl programming develop their skills and tool chest.
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on August 5, 2007
In his preface to Advanced Perl Programming, 2nd Edition, Simon Cozens says that the focus in Perl programming has shifted, since the first edition, from techniques to resources. Rather than write really good new code, authors rely on the CPAN to find existing code and use that to solve the unoriginal parts of their problems. To cater to the discerning Perl programmer, then, the book has been completely rewritten. Instead of covering the parts of the Perl programming language that are often unexploited by more novice hackers, APP2 focuses on providing an overview of some of the major solved problems in Perl, and the modules that provide some of the solutions.

Only Chapter 1, "Advanced Techniques," bears much resemblance to the previous edition of APP. It covers subject matter closer to the language than to the modules involved: globs, CORE::, objects, B, and compilation. Each subsequent chapters discusses a common programming problem, shows off a few existing solutions (in the form of code on the CPAN), and sometimes demonstrates how to put those existing solutions to use. Among the topics covered are parsing, templating, serialization, unicode, and testing. POE, Inline, and Acme also get a chapter each.

Simon's writing is, as always, lucid and easy to follow. He provides good example problems, and he builds solutions that tend to do a good job of selling the modules on display. I must admit to feeling compelled to go do more with POE and some of the Lingua:: tools, after finishing their respective chapters.

In the end, though, I felt unfulfilled. While APP1 was not one of O'Reilly's best Perl books, it delivered what it promised: advanced techniques for writing Perl code. What APP2 delivers is a guide to avoiding the need for advanced techniques. It will save you from needing to use the strangest bits of Perl, not show you how. (The back cover quotes Andy Wardley as saying, "This book of spells goes a long way to unlocking those secrets [of advanced Perl code.]" I think, rather, that it just teaches the incantations.)

Perhaps my disappointment is predicated entirely on my incorrect expectations. If this book had been called "Leveraging the CPAN," I'd probably consider it a great success. You may, instead, be interested in Intermediate Perl or Mastering Perl.
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on December 8, 2013
Well, it actually did meet my expectations. In general, O'Reilly books tend not to be an easy read and this is not a standard self-study textbook anyway. The case studies are certainly instructive but you need to follow them closely to avoid having your exercises blow up in your face. It may go against the grain for O'Reilly but even an advanced book should have some exercises (with possible solutions in the back or on the web.)

Hey, even advanced calculus books have exercises for the student; you learn it by doing it and more by sweating some of it out on your own.
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on October 16, 2014
I have read several books about Perl, such as, Learning Perl, Programming Perl 3/e 4/e, PBP, ... etc. And this book is exactly I want and I need now.
If you wanna improve your Perl tech. This is the must you should have.
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on October 24, 2010
This is a blatant misrepresentation of the excellent first edition of this book: Advanced Perl Programming. It's as if they published a 2nd edition of GoF Design Patterns but it was written by the Three Stooges and contained a rambling account of Moe, Larry, and Curly trying to implement an HTML parser. If fact that would have been a better book than this! Most of this book is filled with lists of parsing modules but with no coherent thread of discussion about how to use these modules to do anything besides trivial parsing of simple documents! The only reason this gets 2 stars is due to the very first chapter which is a decent discussion of "advanced techniques" such as introspection and a very brief discussion of perl internals. However after that you can use the rest of this atrocity to wipe your ass with......
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