Perl & LWP sets out to unwrap the Library for the Web in Perl (LWP), which is a collection of modules that make it easier to access and pick apart Web pages (and FTP-accessible files, and outgoing e-mail messages) from within your Perl programs. The book succeeds wonderfully, not only in conveying the technical aspects of LWP programming, but in making clear the fun of doing work that's very well suited to Perl. Sean Burke assumes that his readers know something about Perl, albeit not much, and a similar amount about HTML. He does a great job of explaining how LWP functions fit into Perl programs, and how you can use them to make reference to Internet resources far more easily than before.
Burke's narrative takes the form of a guided tour in which he introduces his readers to aspects of the LWP modules one by one. His tone is generally straightforward (sharp commentary alternates with brief code listings, with occasional passages of reference material), but there's sometimes an undercurrent of exuberance that makes the reader want to get going with his or her own programming right away. Overall, the emphasis is on teaching both LWP and Perl itself to the extent necessary to do LWP work. Because of the concise and nicely indexed code modules, though, you'll find this book useful as a reference after you're under way with LWP. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to program with LWP and Perl itself. All of LWP's strong points--including HTML parsing (with tokens and trees as well as with regular expressions), HTML generation and modification, manipulation of HTML forms, and the operation of spiders--are covered. This book has more of a tutorial tone than any similar reference material on the Internet.
About the Author
Sean Burke is an active member in the Perl community and one of CPAN's most prolific module authors. He has been a columnist for The Perl Journal since 1998, and is an authority on markup languages. Trained as a linguist, he also develops tools for software internationalization and Native language preservation.