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Effective Perl Programming: Writing Better Programs with Perl [Paperback]

Joseph N. Hall , Randal Schwartz
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl (2nd Edition) (Effective Software Development Series) Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl (2nd Edition) (Effective Software Development Series) 4.4 out of 5 stars (20)
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Book Description

January 9, 1998 0201419750 978-0201419757 1
Perl experts Joseph Hall and Randal Schwartz share sixty concise lessons, focusing on programming techniques, pointers, rules of thumb, and the pitfalls to avoid, enabling students to make the most of Perl's power and capabilities. Through their advice, they help students develop a knack for the right ways to do things. They show how to solve problems with Perl, and how to debug and improve Perl programs. Through examples, they help you learn good Perl style. Geared for students who have already acquired Perl basics, the book will extend students' skill range, giving them the tactics and deeper understanding they need to create Perl programs that are more elegant, effective, and succinct. The book also speaks to those who want to become more fluent, expressive, and individualistic Perl programmers. The author maintains a substantial companion website at

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Editorial Reviews Review

Effective Perl Programming is a gem of a Perl book. Its author, Joseph Hall, is a well-known Perl instructor and frequent poster on the seminal comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup. The book's technical editor is none other than Randal Schwartz, noted Net personality, enigmatic author of Learning Perl, and contributor to Programming Perl.

Hall has distilled his years of Perl experience into a book for Perl programmers that is both fluid and fun to read. It's somewhat like reading the Perl FAQ; even when you think you know everything, there's so much you don't know.

Effective Perl Programming has a clear layout: the text is easy on the eyes and the monospaced font makes a clear distinction between backticks and single quotes. Hall uses his PEGS (PErl Graphical Structures) notation to show the difference between Perl's different types of data structures and how everything ties together.

Packed with great examples and code snippets, this book is an excellent source of tips and tricks to make your Perl programs faster and easier to read. You'll also find a strong section on using the Perl debugger to improve your Perl programming skills. In yet another section, Hall walks the reader through the creation of a complete XS module that can boost the performance of array shuffling eight-fold. All in all, this is a great book for programmers who want to move beyond plain, verbose Perl toward a more succinct and powerful coding style.

From Library Journal

Perl is an amazingly powerful language that is especially useful for web work with Common Gateway Interfaces. This is not a book for beginners but for people who have some experience being confused by Perl. Hall discusses namespace, regular expressions, references, packages, and object-oriented programming. The goal of this book is not to write clear, legible, slightly verbose Perl code but "toward something more succinct and individualistic."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201419750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201419757
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you program Perl, this book belongs on your desk. February 16, 2000
It's slim, but packed with incredibly useful knowledge. The book is organized as a number of "Issues" each of which has numerous examples and related sub-issues. This book is in the same vein as "The Perl Cookbook", but addresses problems from a more general approach, instead of "How do I do X?". This is not a book for Perl newbies, but after going through "Learning Perl" and hacking a few scripts, a beginner should have encountered some of the issues that this book addresses. The book is readable and the examples are useful. Some of the more useful, but less-understood features of Perl (map, grep are the ones I've encountered so far) are explained quite well. All in all, reading this book should take you from Perl baby-talk to Perl adulthood.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pearls of wisdom for the Perl progammer November 5, 2000
The day I got this book, I turned to page 1 and started reading. Two hours later, I had made it only to page 80. Why? Because this book is DENSE and FULL of tips and tricks that will expand the horizons of the intermediate programmer. I spent a lot of time studying the numerous examples in order to soak up all the information that was being presented.
I've been programming with Perl since 1992 and teach it at a community college. And yet with every turn of the page, I learned something new. Examples:
Making regular expressions more efficient
Using map() and grep()
How to call a subroutine from inside a string
Great stuff! The techniques I've learned from this book have been incorporated into my new Perl scripts and they are shorter and faster than ever before.
I can't lavish enough praise on this book. Authors Joseph Hall and Randal Schwartz should be commended. If you have been using Perl for some time and want to hone your skills, get this book now.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Write more perl-ish perl April 23, 2003
I started writing perl around ten years ago, and at the time my perl looked a lot like the c code I wrote in 1990.. or the FORTRAN code I wrote in 1975! And so it was for many years.
But this book, more than any other, helped turn me into an actual perl programmer. It covers the basics- things like 'use "$_" implcitly whenever possible, but don't refer to it explicitly if you don't have to'. There's a good description of slurp mode. And it covers those neat little tricks, like using:
to return the greater of two scalars.
It's not a book for the absolute beginner. But once you've written a few programs and start wondering why your perl doesn't look like that written by the perl gurus, this is the book to get.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars straight forward and honest March 19, 2000
This is an excellent book. It runs through 60 items, through regular expressions, "map", and "grep". Each item describes a concepts and best usage of one of the core concepts of Perl. This may be one of the first technical books I read from start to finish (the very *best* way to read this book of progressive concept development). Reading this book changed my understanding of Perl programming, improved my code (by the first 50 pages), and reduced my programming mistakes.
This was also the single most fun technical book I have read. Not comedy, but true delight at finding new ways to use Perl. I can readily believe that Joseph Hall is a successful and popular instructor, if this is an example of his class design.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already a Perl programmer? Become a better one! May 18, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been using Perl casually for a few years now, but when I first got this book six months ago, I sort of skimmed through it and didn't find anything too interesting. But when I started doing a few Perl projects, I kept thinking, "Hey, didn't that book say something about a better way to do this?" So I'd look it up, and an elegant solution to my problem would be there. It's not that I couldn't have done it without the tip, because as all Perl programers know, "There's More Than One Way To Do It", but it taught me a cleaner way than I would have done otherwise.
Most tips are no longer than a few pages, and they are neatly organized by topic ("Regular Expressions", "Subroutines", etc.) in the index. Highly recommended for the semi-experienced Perl programmer who is looking to polish their programming skills.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Effective Perl Programming is a concise, well written guide that is packed with useful Perl tips. The book is a series of "Items" (in the same style as Effective C++) that are each a tip about how to use Perl. Each tip is accompanied by a detailed description that discusses the pros and cons or each tip and several examples. The tips are then arranged into sections such as "Regular Expressions" and "Object Oriented Programming". In a relatively small book the authors manage to present an enormous amount of helpful information.
This book is a worthwhile purchase if you are a new or intermediate Perl developer. The tips presented here will really help improve your code. However, if you have been working with Perl for a while then this book isn't worth the money. There might be a tip or two that you don't know, but chances are you know most of what is presented.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lightweight August 6, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, succinct, no fat. Material is too simple for CS or Perl experts or for advanced readers who want a deeper look under the covers. Covers a broad swath of perl issues in a very shallow manner. Pricy for the skinny size of the book -- I read it over 4 days before going to bed. Not much of a reference. Good starting point for many ideas and other more specialized books and online docs.
I wanted to give it 3*. But I am not the intended audience since I have nearly 10 years of professional experience in Perl. I wish I borrowed a copy or read it in the book store. For someone with 6 months to 2 years of Perl experience it could be a good book to kick you up to the next level of Perl.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Right ways to write Perl
A language reference book that's a page-turner? Yes, it can happen, and Hall and Schwartz have done it. Read more
Published on November 15, 2008 by talkaboutquality
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
this book is "MUST HAVE" Perl book!
It gives you great idea to simply your code and algorithm.
Published on June 21, 2008 by Hounien Lin
4.0 out of 5 stars A fast track to idiomatic Perl
This is a good book for getting a handle on intermediate level Perl and its idiomatic uses, arranged as a series of 60 'items' -- the debt to Effective C++ is obvious. Read more
Published on July 16, 2007 by Thing with a hook
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Book
I'm fairly new to Perl (but not to programming) and this book is great. I really like the format of the code examples, and there's a lot of wisdom here on writing good, idiomatic... Read more
Published on February 24, 2007 by Dave Slayton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Perl Book
This book shows you some efficient and interesting ways of using Perl. It is very informative and I often use it when I want to see if there is a better way of doing something.
Published on February 6, 2007 by A. Kreitman
3.0 out of 5 stars Not always clear
Well, even though I rate this book only 3 stars, I do think it belongs to the shelf of any serious Perl programmer. (Of course, don't just let it sit there; read it! Read more
Published on December 30, 2004 by Gadgester
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
As a previous reviewer said, this isn't a book for advanced perl programmers. For intermediate users, however, it is excellent. Read more
Published on March 21, 2004 by "kermit_1"
3.0 out of 5 stars Just couldn't get into it
There isn't realy anything wrong with this book per se. It does have some good ideas for Perl programming.
I just didn't find it very interesting or even that useful. Read more
Published on January 24, 2004 by John A. Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential stuff you won't find in manuals
The authors are long-time professional Perl trainers and it clearly shows: the selection of material, organization and presentation style are honed and distilled to be worth paying... Read more
Published on January 20, 2004 by Egor Shipovalov
4.0 out of 5 stars A little more in-depth.
This book covers some cool tricks and tips and more efficient coding than some of the other Perl books. Read more
Published on May 21, 2003 by Tim Greer
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