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4.4 out of 5 stars
Learning Perl
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Learning Perl, 6th Edition is an update to the classic beginner's text for the Perl language. Perl version 5.14 features are introduced, although older versions of Perl will suffice for most of the content.

The book is intended to introduce the basic elements of Perl in a tutorial fashion. It does not teach programming, and essentially provides the reader with enough language tools to create short Perl scripts. Most examples are straightforward and easily absorbed, although they are somewhat artificial (Flintstones characters aren't usually the subjects of Perl scripts).

Each chapter ends with exercises, which are really essential for the beginner to complete - this is where you actually use the language elements and learn to incorporate them into a larger program.

Users who do best working through a single example and building it into a working program may not enjoy this book, due to it's "bottom-up" approach to Perl. Without prior Perl experience, you will finish the book having a strong grasp of the building blocks used by the language ( variables, loops, etc .), but will need further reading to round out your education and produce more complex programs. That is not a negative reflection on the book or it's context, just a recognition that the approach used is not for everyone.

Overall, excellent work from a highly respected and experienced team of Perl trainers, well worth the time invested by the reader.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am a computer professional, but not a programmer. I took a C++ course in college, 10 years ago, and in the last couple years I have taken up Bash scripting. I figured I could probably do more if I learned a real language, instead of just playing with Bash.

This book did not disappoint. It's been excellent. It takes a very practical approach to educating the reader on the mechanics of Perl, focusing on cumulative knowledge as the chapters move along. The text is reasonably engaging, and the material moves at a good pace - not too fast and not too slow. The exercises at the end of the chapters help reinforce the material, and even includes estimates of how long the programming should take. It clearly articulates differences between Perl versions without droning on incessantly about tiny nuances. It is riddled with footnotes for more advanced users to help them understand more and more exceptions to basic rules, as they are initially taught by the text.

To be clear, this book isn't a book that teaches how to program. If you're looking for something that covers procedural logic, this is not the book for you. However, I would suspect that even someone without a deep computer background, but just a strong willingness to learn, would find this book beneficial.

If you ARE a programmer, you might find it a bit novice, and the pace a little slow - maybe not though, maybe you should just absorb the material faster and fly through the chapters. It's hard for me to say.

It was exactly what I was looking for, and after some more practice, I believe I may be moving on to Intermediate Perl.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I initially bought this 1st edition book in 1997 and read every page on my bus ride to work. This is the only programming book I have read every page of and thoroughly enjoyed reading. I do have the other O'Reilly Perl books ( Programming Perl, Perl Cookbook, Regular Expressions ) and enjoy them but they are just too heavy to lug around and so they get left at home while I love to carry my lightweight Learning Perl book for a quick 15 min read at bus stop or coffee shop. This book makes Learning Perl a breeze and I highly recommend it. Buying the 6th edition will be my 3rd purchase of this book. This is the only tech book I have purchased multiple times due to getting the updates and due to book getting worn out by myself carrying it around.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
The authors caution that their intended audience are folks with programming experience who are new to perl. I had essentially no programming background, yet found the book for the most part to be a clear and consise introduction to the basic features of perl (scalars, arrays, subroutines, regular expressions, hashes, etc.) The exercises at the end of the chapters, along with their detailed explanations, clarified the concepts in the chapter. I strongly recommend this book to anyone new to perl.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have programmed in Python and a little bit in C and I think this book is great - and so is perl. I already knew a little bit about perl from reading a Wikipedia article and looking at the perldoc documentation, but Learning Perl taught my some very useful things that I would have never found alone (splicing, nongreedy regexes, just to name a few).
perl has amazing support for I/O, and the book helped me understand regexes and file I/O. I found both perl and this book to be good for other things, too. I wrote a logging program that wrote logs with timestamps, for example. Other things I used this book and perl for included a calculator, a text-to-HTML conversion program, and a password cracker.
Learning Perl helped me uncover some bugs in my programs, taught me many new things, and was also just a fun read. The only thing I would add would be more about OOP (Object Oriented Programming).
I found the TOC (Table of Contents) to be very well done and the e-book version had links to the proper sections. I could find anything quite quickly with the excellent TOC.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a fair introduction to the world of Perl and the depths of the dark twisted psyche that is the mind of Larry Wall. (As an aside, I have never before touched a programming language that has been as willfully perverse as Perl, but that is by design and surprisingly works to make the experienced coder's life easier). It is a decent starting point, although it is a bit too verbose at times. In my mind, the biggest flaw of this book is that the code examples lack explicit blocks listing the output for given code snippets and a lack of how variables have actually been defined. There are also cases where the authors decided to be cute instead of clear - the most recent example I stumbled upon was a string labeled as a "Coke\tSprite" producing a Coke, a Tab and a Sprite. While this is good for a snigger, I'm not sure it's worth the extra mental effort required to process it. There are more concise introductions online, but this does not make a bad starting point, especially if you have little prior programming experience. The exercises provided are very helpful to start developing a feeling of progress in learning the language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is very good, and by far the best Perl book
1. it has emphasized a lot on perl principle:
2. it compares a lot of different usage and lead you to know how and why
3. it has a lot of information

I have ever bought another perl book "beginning perl by Jame Lees", and read about it. Though the latter is a good book, it has not touched why and how to use perl when there are choices. That has forced me to continue to search for another book.

Actually I find this book by luck. I had attended some perl training program, and it has touched a lot more in-depth about perl. Then I found this book is one of the two major reference book.

The only drawback is that the book can be more compact by cutting those verbose sentences. So, I am skipping a lot of readings by jumping from examples to examples to understand concepts, why and how to use perl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 1, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a small concise book unlike the Programming <language_books>. Learning Perl is a 17 chapter book with lucid, detailed explanations. There are lot of exercises and a whole section at the end devoted to answers. There are chapters specific to regular expressions which is a pillar in Perl. Lot of text processing tricks are also in the book.

A useful book aimed at high school and above level. Can be used by industry professionals for variety of scripting jobs. As a note, Perl is deemed as a complicated language compared to Python. Lot of industry is moving to Python, but Perl has a large installed base and will continue for some time. This book debunks the complexity and tries to explain in simple terms. Definitely one of the first book for anyone aspiring to learn Perl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I buy so many electronics from Amazon I feel like I need to review the book for its construction. Like "Excellent binding, pages were not torn."
As for actual content it is complete, has several advances topics and is worded nicely. It doesn't measure up to some of the other O'Reilly books in some spots. Most notably it doesn't hilight how to install Perl (I normally have the stuff installed beforehand, I just noticed it wasn't there this time around).
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn Perl, its clear, and it uses a realatively recent version of Perl as compared with its competitors and has some fallow-up books by the same publisher, should you want to further your learning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Learning Perl (aka "The Llama Book") is very clearly written and takes the reader on an easy-to-follow path to learn the Perl language. The language is presented using example code that is explained step by step in clear, plain English language (keeping jargon to the minimum).

I've never taken a Perl course but I can write programs and subroutines to do what I need (so far). This book is great for teaching yourself Perl. However, Perl is a very rich language and thus not all of it can be in The Llama Book, to continue the learning one needs the equally excellent sequel "Intermediate Perl" (The Alpaca Book).
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