Customer Reviews

17
5 star
82%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
18%
1 star
0%
Writing CGI Applications with Perl
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$32.26+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2002
There are a very large number of Perl CGI books in the shops. Unfortunately the number of good Perl CGI books is far smaller. I'm happy to report that this book is one of them.
The problem, of course, with most Perl CGI books is that they are written by people who just don't know very much Perl. That's certainly not the case here. Both Kevin and Brent are well-respected members of the Perl community and they know what they are talking about when it comes to writing CGI programs in Perl.
Another common mistake in Perl CGI books is that the authors try to take people who know a bit of HTML and teach them programming, Perl and CGI all at the same time. The authors of this book realise that this approach is likely to lead to, at best, patchy understanding of any of these concepts so they aim there book at people who are already programmers and who have some knowledge of Perl. This means that they can concentrate of teaching the parts of Perl that are useful when writing CGI programs.
One corner that is often cut when discussing CGI programming is security. This is a very dangerous approach to take as a badly written CGI program can leave your web server open to attack from anyone on the Internet. That's not a mistake that is made here as the authors introduce security in chapter 2. Add to that the fact that the code examples all use -w, use strict and CGI.pm and the book is already head and shoulders above most of its competition.
Early chapters look at common CGI requirements such as file uploads and cookies. Each chapter is full of well written (and well-explained) sample code. The example of an access counter in chapter 6 even locks the file containing the current count - this is possibly a first in a Perl CGI book!
By the middle of the book we have already moved beyond simple CGI programming and are looking at mod_perl. This chapter covers both the "faux-CGI" Apache::Registry module and also writing complete mod_perl handlers.
In the second half of the book we start to look at some bigger examples. The authors present a web-based email system and even a shopping cart. In order to fit these examples into their respective chapters a couple of corners have been cut, but there's enough information there to enable anyone to write the complete systems.
Chapter 13 introduces the HTML::Mason module as a way to separate content from presentation. It's obvious that the author's are big fans of this module and this leads to my only real criticism of the book. At no point do they mention the fact that the same benefits can be gained from using any of half a dozen templating systems found on the CPAN. I would have been a lot happier if they had mentioned things like Text::Template, HTML::Template and the Template Toolkit before picking HTML::Mason as the system for their example.
There are then two more long chapters with examples of a document management system and image manipulation software. Once more the code in these examples would serve as a greating starting point for anyone wanting to implement something along these lines. The last chapter looks at XML and, in particular, the use of RSS files to provide data feeds to other web sites.
All in all this is a very useful book for someone wanting to write web-based applications using Perl. It's packed full of good advice and code that follows all of the best practices for writing CGI programs in Perl. This book won't teach you Perl, but if you've read Learning Perl or Elements of Programming with Perl then you'll find this book easy enough to follow.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2001
What a pleasure to find a book that succeeds in what it sets out to do. I wanted to improve my ability to write CGI applications with Perl and came away from this book with mission accomplished. As a bonus, the book contains uses for Perl I suspect many people don't know about.
The book uses a variety of methods to make its points--- interactive exercises, cut-and-paste code, extensive documentation, conceptual development, and plain English explanations and descriptions. Each chapter covers a CGI application. Concepts from one section become the foundation for practical, must-know applications covered elsewhere. Information is presented in logical order; chapter 4 doesn't expect you to know code from chapter 7. Truly valuable is the book's focus on "why it works" as well as the "how to do it." The "why" promotes a grasp of how to use a script or technique in other contexts. If you feel something special about that "oh yea, I get it" feeling, I think this book is for you.
I call the book unique because I haven't seen another with the variety of instructional methods, the "building-block" style, or the combination of practical skills with underlying knowledge.
In sum, the authors wrote an excellent book that I recommend to any serious Perl programmer or web designer.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2001
When I first got this book, I thought "CGI is a much more complex standard than this! For example, what about all the strange things you can do with hidden form variables?" Then in occurred to me that the unifying theme of this book is not "everything you can do with CGI" -- it's "everything you can do with CGI, done SECURELY".
All the various CGI tricks I'd known and used that weren't mentioned in this book, were the sort of thing that a beginning programmer might misuse, and thereby accidentally create a way for some malicious user to, for example, delete or corrupt any file on the filesystem, or order any product for [price]. Since /most/ beginning programmers create programs with just those kind of accidental security problems, I'm glad that this book sees security as a primary goal.
In other words: they show you how to do anything you need in CGI, but they don't give you enough rope to hang yourself with! The other thing that makes me happy with this book is that it wisely takes the (very realistic) perspective that CGIs are programs that have to do something /besides/ just talking to the Web browser -- they have to access a database, send a piece of mail, read from a config file, write to a log file, or whatever other details the task demands. That's just the way the CGI business is, and this book gives you a nice introduction to that way of programming.
I heartily recommend this book for anyone who's starting out doing CGI programming. It assumes you do know some Perl already. If you don't, and you already have a strong programming background in some other language than Perl, can probably just make do with the Perl man pages; but less experienced folks should get /Learning Perl/, or /Elements of Programming with Perl/, or maybe even /Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours/ (which has a good CGI section, incidentally).
One note: currently this book is in its first printing, so there are, as always, typos. The errata list at perlcgi-book.com was quite helpful.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
At last, a Perl CGI book that doesn't spend the first two chapters showing you how to install Active Perl on Windows 98!
This book is for those who have already started working with Perl CGI and want to know more. If you have ever downloaded and installed scripts from Matt's Script Archive or CGI-Resources.com or if you have installed Perl on your Windoze box and played with it and want to learn more, this book is for you.
Unlike many Perl CGI books that end with a chapter on how to use modules from CPAN, this book with starts with how to install and use modules and then shows you how to use the more advanced Perl CGI features like CGI.pm, mod_perl and Mason. It takes you through projects like using the Perl DBI, file uploading, cookies, working with the Apache registry and XML.
As an earlier reviewer pointed out, this is a unique Perl book and has its own niche. If falls in between a beginner book like Jacqueline Hamilton's CGI Programming 101, Simon Cozen's Beginning Perl or Randall Schwartz's Learning Perl and the more advanced books like O'Reilly's Programming Perl and Advanced Perl Programming.
It's also nice to see a new Perl CGI book come out a time when CGI seems to be losing ground to the newer web development technologies like PHP, Java Server Pages and ASP.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2002
This book is just great. Clearly written by two authors that have spent some time doing some real work out there in the real world, you'll NEVER find any overly academic examples in here. They just go from one very useful example to another. They teach you how to use CGI programs with MySQL databases, how to process all manner of forms, use dynamic image manipulation via CGI modules, handle file uploading, handle cookies, etc. Plus, the examples they give are all made from the point of view of using CGI in a real-world, website environment. You can take the code they give you and add it in your own programs with no difficulty whatsoever.
This is a great book of useful, real-world CGI examples. As long as you already know Perl (you must have a decent familiarity with the language and some scripting background to really use this book well, or else you will get overwhelmed!!!) this is a perfect way to go from theory to practice in just a few easy steps.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2001
I purchased this book about a week ago and I must say I am impressed. Finally, a CGI reference that serious Perl programmers can use.
Pick this up, along with Lincoln Stein's "Official Guide to Programming with CGI.pm, and you will be well on your way to Perl/CGI Nirvana.
I was disapointed to see the negative review posted about this book. This is not a book that teaches Perl. Rather, it teaches the user how to use Perl to develop CGI apps. I think THAT reviewer would be better off with the excellent "Learning Perl" from O'Reilly. The level of Perl knowledge needed to understand this book is not very high, however. A moderately experienced developer will breeze through the examples.
Good luck!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2001
This book covered everything that I wanted to learn about doing CGI with Perl. It is well-written and very easy to read. All of the example code is described in a line by line fashion, and it's described well enough that even those with only basic Perl knowledge will understand. It promotes good programming practices, and the authors share many topics and techniques that even those already familiar with CGI will learn from. It's a great book!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
I just started using this book and it is friggin' amazing. I've been a fan of Perl for years although I've also programmed in VB, C, Java, etc. But Perl has always been the "useful glue" for everything. Most of my web dev has been Java and just starting to tap Perl as a CGI solution. This book has educated me more in ONE HOUR than I even imagined. It expects that you have used Perl a bit, but not much. It really reveals the power of Perl as a CGI/server-side solution. I always think books this well done are worth buying since you'll just get smarter and make more money - a no brainer.... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2003
This is an extremely useful book for writing web-based applications with Perl. Lots of helpful descriptions and examples. Useful for beginners to familiarize themselves with a wide range of necessary terms and topics. For example, I found the chapters on mod_perl and dbi very helpful. Also useful for more experienced CGI programmers because of the useful examples and techniques presented.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2005
This is a fantastic book! It is best for people who already know Perl and have written basic CGI scripts and now wish to write full-blown applications.

The attraction of this book is simple: there are countless sources that teach you how to write a CGI "page" -- a single script that has a couple states. But it turns out that writing CGI-based "applications" are much harder.

This is one of the rare books that discusses the architecting of CGI-based *applications* including the full source of a very interesting content management application. As such, this book is virtually unique among the dozens of others books. It is not perfect and I keep hoping that the authors will come out with an updated edition. But for all that, it remains unparalleled.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.