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Learning Perl, Fourth Edition [Paperback]

by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, brian d foy
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2005 0596101058 978-0596101053 Fourth Edition

Learning Perl, better known as "the Llama book", starts the programmer on the way to mastery. Written by three prominent members of the Perl community who each have several years of experience teaching Perl around the world, this edition has been updated to account for all the recent changes to the language up to Perl 5.8.

Perl is the language for people who want to get work done. It started as a tool for Unix system administrators who needed something powerful for small tasks. Since then, Perl has blossomed into a full-featured programming language used for web programming, database manipulation, XML processing, and system administration--on practically all platforms--while remaining the favorite tool for the small daily tasks it was designed for. You might start using Perl because you need it, but you'll continue to use it because you love it.

Informed by their years of success at teaching Perl as consultants, the authors have re-engineered the Llama to better match the pace and scope appropriate for readers getting started with Perl, while retaining the detailed discussion, thorough examples, and eclectic wit for which the Llama is famous.

The book includes new exercises and solutions so you can practice what you've learned while it's still fresh in your mind. Here are just some of the topics covered:

  • Perl variable types
  • subroutines
  • file operations
  • regular expressions
  • text processing
  • strings and sorting
  • process management
  • using third party modules

If you ask Perl programmers today what book they relied on most when they were learning Perl, you'll find that an overwhelming majority will point to the Llama. With good reason. Other books may teach you to program in Perl, but this book will turn you into a Perl programmer.

Editorial Reviews


"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

Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Fourth Edition edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101053
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be your first book on Perl 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Introduction into Another Language March 22, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep it handy! April 30, 2007
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book August 11, 2007
By Deoren
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to Perl scripting July 14, 2007
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
This book took the time to explain exactly what I needed to know in order to learn what I needed from Perl. Read more
Published 2 months ago by chris cutlip
3.0 out of 5 stars I certainly enjoyed this item. I would definitely recommend it to any...
I certainly enjoyed this item. I would definitely recommend it to any and everyone who is interested in this item!
Published 14 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book for perl begginers
I have not really gone through all the book, but it seems very nice for learning PERL from begining. I would recommend it, very good information for the price I paid.
Published on August 24, 2011 by Leo :D
4.0 out of 5 stars (Almost) the best introduction to Perl
I own about two dozen Perl books, including the 2nd and 3rd editions of 'Learning Perl'. I'm now buying the 4th edition of 'Learning Perl', and this review is motivated by the... Read more
Published on April 1, 2010 by C. Carter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Beginners
To go along with everyone else, this book is great for beginning to learn how to program in PERL. A must for everyone.
Published on August 28, 2009 by M. Zavada
5.0 out of 5 stars One book for most of use
This is the book which led me into the Perl world. It's not the first Perl book I read. Before came to this book, I read some other books, took online lessions, etc. Read more
Published on March 17, 2008 by Z. Yu
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book for anyone new to perl
I recommend this book to anyone who is new to perl. The only thing I thought could have been better though was add more examples after each chapter. Read more
Published on October 27, 2007 by gsrakkar
1.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to Perl
This book is a gives a gentle introduction to Perll; by the time you have gone through this book, you would have touched on some very simple operations and common language idioms... Read more
Published on October 4, 2007 by M. A. ZAIDI
3.0 out of 5 stars Get the second edition
I learned Perl from the second edition of this book a few years ago, and was very impressed. After a few years without writing a single line of Perl, I needed to learn it again,... Read more
Published on October 4, 2007 by C. Higgins
2.0 out of 5 stars Learning? This book is confusing on purpose!
It's amazing how this book could become so popular.
The set of examples is very confusing.
The authors seem to be trying to break the world record of code "compactness"... Read more
Published on June 25, 2007 by A. Pena
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