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Wicked Cool Perl Scripts: Useful Perl Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems 1st Edition

2.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 068-9145706239
ISBN-10: 1593270623
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book about kick-starting your programming imagination . . . [it] will get you thinking about . . . creating practical solutions to your problems." -- About.com Guide to Perl, May 22, 2006

"Exemplifies the practical approach, highlighting utilities that make readers' computing and online lives easier." -- Library Journal Reviews, May 1, 2006

"Provides excellent and useful scripts to do the specific things the author intends them to be used for." -- O’Reilly.net, April 24, 2006

"This is not your typical Perl book . . . great for a Perl programmer who has a flair for unique issues." -- Free Software Magazine, April 20, 2006

From the Back Cover

You can do a lot of strange and wonderful things with the Perl language—if you know how. Many Perl programmers have been frustrated at one time or another because the system was missing some simple and obvious utility. Wicked Cool Perl Scripts is your guide to writing those utilities quickly and easily.

This book contains a wide variety of scripts including ones that make use of really cool Perl features (see script #1 Automatic Help Option) and Internet data mining (try script #18 Getting Stock Quotes or script #19 Comics Download).

It also contains games (like Teaching a Toddler, script #35), programs to make system administration easier (such as Mass File Renaming, script #21), and even a program to help someone hiking the Grand Canyon (script #42 Location Finder).

Even the most experienced programmer can benefit from script #46 the Regular Expression Grapher which shows you how a complex expression like /^.*(a|b|c).+$/ can be made into a simple, easily understood graph.

If you’re a Perl programmer who wants to learn the ins and outs as well as the hidden corners of the language, Wicked Cool Perl Scripts will show you simple and elegant hacks as well as some extreme examples of power programming. With Wicked Cool Perl Scripts in hand, you’ll be doing things you never even thought possible in Perl. You’ll be using the language to do real work, of course, but you’ll also be producing wickedly cool programs.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593270623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593270629
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Sabatini on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This books gives good examples of different perl scripts for many situations. What I really like about the book was the outline for each script. It gave an intro to the situation and what the script would do, the script itself, an explanation on how the script works, and then tips for modifying the script to fit you needs. A neat book just to poke around in. The only downside was that the majority of scripts were web oriented, because I use perl to administer my network and was looking for something more along that line.
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Format: Paperback
Perl is a great language, but I doubt anyone would call it 'self explanatory'. That's where I find fault with this book. It's page after page of code, with very little explanation of that code and how it works.

That being said, I did like the examples used in the book. And I think this book fits nicely between Programming Perl and the Perl Cookbook. Though I would certainly buy those two books before buying this one.
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Format: Paperback
The problem with book titles which marry terms like 'wicked' and 'cool' with programming, is that scripts which, for example, determine the particular type of EOL marker in a file, may not match your personal definition of cool. More realistically, the book's subtitle promises that the 40ish programs given here are 'useful', and this is more or less true.

There's plenty here with a system administration flavour, e.g. a duplicate file finder, a website dead link checker, a Unix user deletion script. Also, the Tk toolkit is used for some simple GUIs, and the Image::Magick module for manipulating graphics, which is probably enough to get you started on your own ideas.

Even if your needs and interests don't align with the author's, a lot of the scripts remain useful, if not for the exact content, then at least for providing the skeleton that you can use for your own ends. Some of the scripts use an object oriented interface, but don't require the user to create an OO module, so as long as you're comfortable with references, most of the code here is very good for building a beginner's confidence in tackling non trivial scripts. There's also a reasonable amount of explanation of what the different bits of the code are doing, although the layout of the annotation is not particularly effective (the Head First books still lead the way in this), and the discussion does not go too high level. This is appropriate for the most part, but you're probably not going to be able to get too far with Tk on your own from just the material provided in this book.

On the downside, the Perl itself is not very idiomatic, so you may pick up some bad habits from the style. For example, the size of an array is checked with 'if ($#words != 1)' where 'if (@words !
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Format: Paperback
I don't recommend this book for beginning PERL programmers as there is not enough explanation to be useful for that purpose. Beginners should read "Learning PERL" in its latest edition. However, if you are an intermediate to advanced PERL programmer this book is a good resource for all kind of problems that you might not often run into, but when you do, you might find it difficult to visualize the solution in PERL.

In the UNIX system administration section of the book, my favorites are the manual user-creation utility, and also the process killer. At the end of the book is an entire chapter dedicated to the regular expression grapher. This chapter shows you how to create a Perl script to process a regular expression text string and convert it into a decent-looking state-based graphic. In other words, you will get a PNG file with nodes representing each node, repeats, and backtracks in the regular expression.

Some of the scripts are very specific solutions to rather unique issues. For example, the author has one script where, when a key is pressed, a particular image is displayed and sound is played to entertain his toddler. Another large section of the book is dedicated to downloading and processing United States Geological Survey (USGS) topographical maps. The author is very good about explaining each script, even pointing out some troubleshooting hints in case you adapt the script to your own situation and it does not work properly. I guess I would compare this book to the "Hack" series that O'Reilly & Associates publishes on a number of specialized topics.
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Format: Paperback
If you have a decent background in Perl and you are looking for practical ideas for scripts, Wicked Cool Perl Scripts by Steve Oualline has a number of benefits to offer...

Contents:

General-Purpose Utilities; Website Management; CGI Debugging; CGI Programs; Internet Data Mining; Unix System Administration; Picture Utilities; Games and Learning Tools; Development Tools; Mapping; Regular Expression Grapher; Index

Each of the chapters includes a number of scripts that are ready to be used and/or modified for your own purposes. The general format is to present the code first, and then tell how to run it, how the module(s) are used in the script, the results you'll see from the script, how it all works, and in some cases how you can hack the script in order to enhance it. On the associated web site, there's also full documentation on the script. So if there's one that you really want to incorporate into your arsenal, you can download it. Makes the book more focused and concise. There were plenty of items in here that piqued my interest, such as the scripts for checking stock quotes and for checking your web site for broken links. There is also a cool script that allows you to search your file systems for duplicate files based on size and a generated checksum. That'd be great for all those sound and video files that look different, but that are duplicates in everything but name.

As with most "recipe"-style books, some people will find a ton of value, and others might not find anything that floats their boat. It's definitely a case of "your mileage may vary". Also, a beginning Perl programmer would be over their head here. You could probably work your way through the code and figure it out, but it would be slow going. But having some background in Perl will allow you to start getting some ideas about potential "wicked cool" scripts that you could use in your toolbox...
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