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Learning Perl, Second Edition (Nutshell Handbooks) 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The second set of reviewers (of which I am one), who have just about universally panned this book, are Windows or Mac users who had no clue what sed, awk and grep were and then attempted to tackle Perl with this book. For those people, this book is a big mistake.
When I was searching for a beginning Perl book, I flipped through the llama book and got confused not only by the first chapter, but with several of the succeeding chapters as well. I learned Perl with Laura LeMay's "Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days" which is a much gentler intro to Perl and also covers Perl in Windows and the Mac. Now that I have some Perl and Linux experience, I went back to the bookstore and started flipping through the llama again, and this time I thought, "Hey this book is really good."
Learn from my Jekyll and Hyde experience with the llama: if you are trying to learn Perl and you have previous Unix experience, buy the book. If you don't have previous Unix experence, get something else.
I hope this explanation clears up why some people gave this book rave reviews while others ripped it.
I came to this book knowing next to nothing about Perl, and with a few misconceptions to boot (that Perl's syntax is 'write-only', it's primarily a CGI tool, etc.), and now I am not sure that epiphany would cover it. In 12 years of learning and using programming languages, I don't think I have come across anything so enchanting.
One of the best parts of the book: the authors. Add Schwartz & Christiansen to Elliotte Rusty Harold, Petzold, and a very few others who are truly effective technical writers. Classic O'Reilly easygoing style, never condescending, and eerily consistent in presenting just the right amount of information on the given topic.
Every programmer (even non-Perl ones) should read 'Programming Perl' by Larry Wall. But to learn Perl, and take the first step down a long and magical road, buy this book.
I had a few nits, but by the time I finished the book, I had forgotten most of them. As close to 5 stars as I will ever give for a technical book.
Now, listen up.
-I only know the basics of C++ programming;
-I do not know anything about UNIX OS;
-This book help me understand enough about Perl to write my own CGI scripts and run them on the Internet!!! (I've got 3 forums running now and several voting sections!)
If you are a pure Windows user, like myself, but would like to learn the basics of Perl, get this book, period!
Now the cons: As mentioned with so many reviews, this book is very brief. Although I was stuck in chapter for 1 week (!!!), I "fly" through the rest of the chapters in 2-3 days! The biggest problem I find is the lack of adequate explanation for each operators, regular expressions, etc. When writing my own CGI, I have to continuously look for alternative sources of Perl references to clear up my queries and help me to understand a few particular properties of Perl.
For example, I have to use the s///; and the tr///; many times in my scripts, but without extensive understanding of all their properties, I find it "crippling" to my work.
Enough said. For an introduction to Perl, I would give this book 5 stars. If you hunger for much more information, like myself, get this book first, before trying out the lastest Programming Perl (3rd Edition).
However, there are a few important things to note. This is not a standalone book. You will need to get the Programming in Perl book as well to serve as a reference guide. Also, this book assumes basic Unix knowledge. If you have no exposure to Unix, a couple of things (very minor though) might be a bit baffling. If you've played with Unix, then this book is a breeze.
I managed to ramp myself up on Perl and start writing some sweet scripts within a week. I also bought the Programming in Perl book and now I turn to that book for the more heavy duty stuff.
The long and short of it: this is the best beginners book around for Perl.
Definately a must-have for anyone serious about programming in Perl. Especially if you write in a lot of languages like I do and don't have the brain capacity to memorize every nuance of every language. This book is easy to find information in.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perl differs from many other languages. For example, it requires data typed variables to use specific symbols, and it also has a very different concept of object-orientation and... Read morePublished on September 18, 2011 by Clifford Oravec
I needed to have a book that outlined the syntax for the coding of Perl. This was an excellent book to give me the basics of Perl. Read morePublished on December 21, 2008 by Clyde Chiever
Well laid out, easy to follow for a beginner. Serious coders will need a more detailed and in depth book after completing this one.Published on November 2, 2007 by Lee Johnston
I picked this one up for a friend in an attempt to get him to stop bombarding me with perl questions. It didn't work. He just asked me more.Published on February 20, 2007 by Jesse Hires
While this may be an excellent primer for programmers who are new to Perl (I don't know), it's not the best place to start for those who are entirely new to programming, like me. Read morePublished on May 8, 2002 by Ken Zirkel
This is not one of those bloated computer books that you have to read while hunched over a keyboard, taking notes and meticulously typing out the examples. Read morePublished on January 1, 2002 by Thomas Alison
I feel this is a good book for a beginner programmer, one that is interested in having good examples, there is even a cgi programming chaper that is very useful. Read morePublished on December 10, 2001 by bc mcdaniel