Learning Perl, Fourth Edition Fourth Edition Edition

37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596101053
ISBN-10: 0596101058
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book can be summed up as a solid introduction to Perl v5.8. There's no quick way to learn a language but finding time to work though this book will put you in good stead. Anyone past the basics of the language would be better off splashing out on "Perl Cookbook " or "Learning Perl". - Greg Matthews, news@UK, September 2005

Book Description

Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Fourth Edition edition (July 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101053
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first tried to learn Perl by using the other O'Reilly book, "Programming Perl". I was completely lost. Then I found this book and my second attempt was much more successful. This book is great for self-teaching, and the book chapters should be read in order as each chapter builds on previous ones. Each chapter has plenty of good programming exercises with answers in the back of the book. I review this book in the context of the table of contents.

Chapter 1. Introduction
This chapter answers basic questions such as how to get and install Perl, how to construct a basic Perl program, and then takes you on a whirlwind tour of Perl.

Chapter 2. Scalar Data
As a general rule, when Perl has just one of something, that's a scalar, which is the topic of this chapter.

Chapter 3. Lists and Arrays
If a scalar is the "singular" in Perl, as described at the beginning of Chapter 2, the "plural" in Perl is represented by lists and arrays. A list is an ordered collection of scalars. An array is a variable that contains a list. In Perl, the two terms are often used as if they're interchangeable. But, to be accurate, the list is the data, and the array is the variable. You learn about these differences through practical code examples in this chapter.

Chapter 4. Subroutines
You've now seen and used some of the built-in system functions, such as chomp, reverse, and print. But, as other languages do, Perl has the ability to make subroutines. The name of a subroutine is another Perl identifier occasionally with an optional ampersand in front. There's a rule about when you can omit the ampersand and when you cannot, and that rule is discussed.

Chapter 5. Input and Output
This chapter covers the 80% of the I/O you'll need for most programs.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Brutto on March 22, 2007
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I purchased this book hoping to gain insight into Perl after having experience with C, C++ and Java. I came back with not only a wonderful, base knowledge of the principals of Perl, but came out with some other skills as well.

This books provides a wonderful, quick, easy read for beginners and pros alike. The knowledge of the language coupled with the coverage of core concepts, methodology, practices and practical programmatic thinking was a delight to read/review.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By I. Momcheva on April 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have owned this book for a couple of years now and I keep it on a bookshelf an arms reach away. It spends most of the time on my desk anyways. The book is excellent for beginners - I knew nothing of Perl when I bought it. I used it as a textbook and spent about a week reading through the chapters and doing the excercises. I've used it as a reference ever since. It really only covers basic Perl topic - there is a brief mention of databases at the end and two mentions of references in the whole book, but as a tutorial I certainly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thing with a hook on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I learnt Perl scripting from the third edition of The Llama, and recently had cause to brush up my Perl for a new job, so I thought I'd check out the fourth edition. I'm pleased to say it's still an excellent work. If you want to use Perl as a scripting language, this may be all you need for your entire scripting career. Some basic programming knowledge might be helpful, but even a complete beginner could get something out of this.

The basics are covered well: strings, numbers, control structures, subroutines, arrays and hashes, and most importantly, reading and writing files, and the mighty regular expressions. In fact, I've not read a better treatment of regular expressions anywhere else. Everything is clearly explained and well-written. Basically, this is the gold standard against which all introductory books to a programming language should be judged.

However, this book makes no claim to covering all of Perl. At least the main text of the book doesn't. I don't know what happened with the blurb on the back of the book, but it mentions, among other things: threading, references, objects, modules and package implementation. Technically, these topics are indeed present, but only in that a paragraph each is devoted to them in Appendix B. You will certainly learn nothing of any value about them.

There are some other minor quibbles: you may find the constant Flintstones references tiring after a while. Also potentially wearing are the sometimes inane footnotes, which breaks the flow of the reading experience for little reward. On the other hand, I found them a lot less annoying in this edition, so perhaps I've just mellowed out in the intervening years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By deoren on August 11, 2007
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First of all, this book is only the beginning. It does teach the basics including arrays, scalars, functions and many other topics that are central to a basic understanding of Perl. It also covers regular expressions which aside from the great swatch of modules is one of Perl's greatest strengths.

Because of that and the teaching style this book earns the 5 star rating.

Toward the end it hints at some of the other 'required' topics such as references, modules and objects. After you've read this book get a copy of Intermediate Perl to read up on those topics.
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