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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2010
I use this book all the time, as I did the previous edition. It's the book I turn to for all my Perl questions. Full disclosure: I know the author, but I'm no Perl expert. I qualify as a beginner (esp. since every time I use Perl, it's six months since the last time, and I have to start over).

I emailed him to ask about the Perl 5.10 on the cover and apparently that was something the publisher did without checking with him. He didn't know about it until the book was out and it was too late to do anything about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beginning Perl, Review by C.J. Scheppers
February 21st, 2013

Beginning Perl, 3rd edition by James Lee, an Apress publication

Beginning Perl, Review by C.J. Scheppers

January 30, 2013

This reviewer has some prior Perl experience, having read other
Perl textbooks and written Perl scripts for about seven years.
Just as Larry Wall's Perl prides itself on the ability to
accomplish a task in many ways, textbooks on Perl can start in
many places, explore any number of paths through the material
and reach a useful, if not complete, grasp of the subject.

Beginning Perl is offered as an introduction to Perl and an
advanced Perl reference; it delivers on both. Mr. Lee's
Introduction gets the new Perl programmer off to a great start,
from understanding where Perl resides amongst other programming
languages to being able to hold your own at cocktail parties,
complete with some Perl jokes.

In the first dozen pages, this reviewer learned as many new
programming techniques or better ways of understanding his
previously written code. A more experienced programmer will
appreciate the Perl syntax presented in this book by the way Mr.
Lee formats his statements into more logically readable forms.
The reader will be frequently enlightened to see why statements
are written the way they are. Syntax will come more naturally to
the beginner and experienced alike.

The beginner might not get off to as rapid of a start
with this book because of the greater amount of background
information presented but momentum builds throughout the book.
Exercises demonstrate the material initially and soon thereafter
useful scripts follow. Compared to another favorite Perl book,
Mr. Lee's 428 pages cover the same amount of subjects at the same
rate but his selection and style of explanation renders the subject
matter readable and easily grasped by all.

The useful index is 20 pages long and the first page and a half
of it is devoted to Perl symbols.

Beginning Perl can be doubly recommended for beginners and those
with some Perl experience.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
I tried to use this as a guide to get started using Perl. My intro to programming was in C++ (I use it casually, am not a pro) so when I needed to pick up some Perl I thought something with "Beginning" in the title might be the ticket. Not the case.

I found several examples in the first several chapters that warranted deeper explanation; instead, VERY subtle (but nonetheless critical) concepts were glossed over. Sometimes things that seem "really just that simple" are in reality more complicated than a superficial explanation would lead the novice to believe. Guess what: that leads to misunderstanding and frustration further down the road.

Not to say it wouldn't work for others, but it sure was not the guide I needed.
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on February 1, 2014
I know some Perl. This book provided a basic education. The exercises help me hon my skills. I recommend it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2012
I did not like the author's approach and style. The tone is unnecessarily jokey and got tedious pretty quickly. Features of the language are treated rather superficially, and only by example: "If you do this, you will get this result." There is no in-depth discussion.

For example, the chapter on regular expressions does not discuss conceptually how they are built of atoms and metacharacters. Instead, the author just begins with literal matches, then gives examples of various metacharacters and their use. So instead of a deep structural understanding of regexes, the reader gets only a list of metacharacters that can be used to check for matches of different kinds. The tools become instrumental rather than conceptual.

So much bad code gets written by folks who learn solely from books like this. They know how to manipulate certain tools to get certain results, but they have no actual understanding of the craft or the language.

The book is also structured poorly. The examples keep using functions that haven't been introduced yet, and the only explanation is: "We'll find out what this function is doing in chapter #foo." Surely the author could have rewritten the example not to use that function. But the reader ends up just taking code on faith, not really understanding what's going on in the big picture, focusing only on the one narrow statement that is immediately relevant to what the author is trying to illustrate. It's another indication of the superficial approach to code.

The production values are surprisingly shoddy. The font size is tiny, and how dark it is changes from one page to the next. The chapter on regexes (again) is, for no reason that I can fathom, printed in a font rather smaller than the rest of the chapters.

Although the book is clear and approachable, I got put off by its superficiality and lame humor. I gave up and purchased Learning Perl 6e by Randal Schwartz et al. That one is much more thorough in explaining how the language actually works, rather than being a sampler of the tools the language provides. Don't waste your money on this one.
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on October 13, 2014
Great book to start with
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2010
I like this book. I really do. But the cover says "Covers Perl 5.10", while there's nothing inside the book about 5.10. There's no "say", no "smart matching", no "switch". Nothing at all that I can identify as new for 5.10. I am very disappointed.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
This is a fine textbook, and it worked well for the course. It's a very simple and straight forward book..
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