Instead of a tutorial on the basics of Perl, this book concentrates on explaining the philosophy of Perl on Unix and what it's good for on the Windows platform. In short, concise chapters, McMahon provides sample scripts for specific tasks done in Win32 Perl. For example, there's a cron utility (for scheduling) and another script for sending mail via SMTP. For administrators, the book shows how to automate nightly backups of directories into .ZIP files.
For programmers, it shows that the traditional advantages of Perl for managing builds translates well into Win32, where it can be used to automate virtually any programming build. There is also a simple example of a COM object created in Visual C++ that can be scripted using Perl. Coverage of Win32 Perl CGI shows what CGI is and how it works. Later sections cover a wide variety of short topics, such as which code editor to use, and a number of custom utilities that can inspire you to think of ways to use Perl in real-world settings.
This short book doesn't aim to be comprehensive. Instead, it provides a nice selection of sample scripts, as well as a guide to understanding the spirit of Perl and the real advantages it offers for any Windows administrator or developer. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Perl history and overview, a Win32 Perl cron utility, using SMTP e-mail with Win32 Perl, automated backups, Microsoft Office 97 automation, integrating project executables: "smoke testing," automating rebuilds, C++ add-ins for Perl with Visual C++, CGI scripting, and Perl hints and tips.