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Learning Perl, Third Edition 3rd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
There were some shortcomings to the book, however. The book is oriented heavily towards Unix systems, and programmers working on Windows systems will have a hard time getting started and completing some of the exercises. The authors should have provided instructions for downloading ActiveState Perl, a free professional Windows port of Perl, and provided more assistance on the Unix-oriented exercises.
Additionally, some basic language features were not covered, such as the peculiarities of do blocks and using chr and ord to convert between characters and their numeric codes. Most importantly, the book does not cover two-dimensional arrays. They are mentioned only in two paragraphs in Appendix B, which refer the reader to four different perldoc sections. This topic is complicated and important enough to warrant its own chapter.
In summary, this book is an excellent introduction to Perl for programmers who are experienced in other languages already. It's not so good for beginning programmers because basic programming concepts are not explained. The major shortcoming is that readers, especially those using Windows, will be frustrated at not being able to easily do what they want to do and will too often need to wade through the documentation.
If you do read the foreword, keep in mind that it's soley for your amusement. Beyond the foreword, the book takes a more serious approach to learning the basics of Perl but is still a far cry from the books that give you the feeling your mouth is full of sawdust.
After reading through this book, expect to be comfortable with
variables & literals (incl. strings)
arrays & hashes (associative arrays)
control structures (if/else, for, while, etc.) & functions(procedures)
basic regular expressions
At the end you get a nice introductory treatment of CGI programming using Perl...an incentive to buy the Camel to learn
more advanced Perl incantations. =)
The book is very professionally written-I didn't find many of those bugs/typos that so many books are infested with.
Thanks Randal & Editors!
The llama is actually a decent companion on your perl voyage. Particularly if you already think of yourself as a programmer are at least acquainted with the unix way of thinking, it will show you much of what you want to know about perl. And if you're new to perl you'll want to have this book (there still aren't any better options for the newcomer). However,
1. The nonstop Flintstones references are hard to stomach. (Yes, that's a trivial complaint. But it drives me nuts.)
2. There aren't enough exercises. This is a nontrivial complaint. For example, the chapter on control structures has only ONE exercise (!), which you can solve by ignoring most of the material in the section. The chapter which introduces SPLIT and JOIN has no exercises that use them (there aren't any exercises anywhere in the book that use split and join, as far as I can tell.) It's a persistent problem; since most folks learn by doing, they'll be required to exercise some imagination in creating and testing their own exercises. An introductory text should be much stronger in this area.
3. The 3rd edition rewrite moved some fundamental (and easy) stuff into a late-in-the-book "Advanced Perl Techniques" chapter. A few examples off the top of my head are the transliteration operator, slices, and sorting subroutines, which are meat and potatoes perl. They were better integrated into the body of the text in the 2nd edition.
4.Read more ›
Coming in at under 275 pages, the book doesn't waste time in getting down to what you need to know. I am a self-learner, and I was constantly amazed at the end of each chapter at how much we had covered. Given such information rich text, you might imagine it to be a little dry. Not so. The book exhibits a quirky, geeky sense of humor. And be warned; it uses footnotes extensively. While that may not be your bag, I found the footnotes made the book more like an internet browsing experience. You use the footnote like a link to more detailed and in-depth information.
I would give the book 5 stars but for one small beef. The authors assume that you are a UNIX programmer. There are numerous references to UNIX arcana, which you are supposed to just know. Phrases like 'If you want to make a Perl program [..] like the utilities cat, sed, awk, [..] and many others..' mean nothing to me. Furthermore there is little (a couple of paragraphs) to explain how to get Perl up and running on a Windows box. Now, I can easily overlook the little Microsoft digs, but I think more of an effort could have been made to reach out to the 'other side'.
So now, I am building my own Perl library. And I love the functionality it gives me. Once I figured out how to call programs from other web platforms I was one happy camper.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book, get back to basics with this Learning Perl book. Clearly written and concise.Published 5 months ago by Porter
This was a relieve coming back to studying Perl -- very funny and great re-introduction for me...Published 14 months ago by efrankamo
Easy to understand. With some background in Java and C, I wasn't coming in to this as a "never programmer" but an "I know enough to read code an write really simple... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Nick Bright
I'm a computer nerd that loves to learn new things. I took a class on Perl last year, and reading this book helped refresh some of the things I learned. Read morePublished on May 29, 2014 by Tamara Mayo
This is a typical O'Reilly book. Well written and fits the area of expertise that it is written for and the audience for which it is intended.Published on March 10, 2013 by Neal Kingcade
This book has been very helpful in learning Perl thus far, and the writing is a welcome change from most technical books. Read morePublished on February 27, 2006 by Jason F. Morais
If you are to purchase a Perl book, and want to use Perl quickly, this is the resource for you. I still use the 2nd edition to do production code. Read morePublished on February 1, 2006 by Jai A. Evans