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Modern Perl Paperback – October 31, 2010
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About the Author
Since 1998, chromatic has helped kick off the Perl testing revolution; contributed to the PerlMonks community from its origins; and wrote, edited, and reviewed many books and articles. He's contributed to Perl's current release structure, as well as Moose, Catalyst, Mojolicious, and p5p. He first released Modern Perl to the community in 2010.
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I can only describe it as a "textbook". If I had to pick a single book to teach Perl 5, this is the one I'd choose. As I read it, I was reminded of the first time I read K&R (C Programming Language) and how much learning was packed into it. (It's the only college programming text I still have). In a slim 250 pages, Modern Perl obsoletes most of my shelf of Perl 5 books. It's not intended for a complete novice to programming (any more than K&R was), but in the hands of a competent programmer or a diligent student it will teach everything that one needs to know to write Perl 5 well.
What I especially like about Modern Perl is that it puts particular emphasis on understanding fundamental Perl 5 concepts like "context" and "scope". From these and other foundations, one can understand why certain programming idioms have emerged and one can avoid surprises in the odder corners of the language. If you want a book to spoon feed cut-and-paste code to you, this is not the book for you. If you want a book that will teach you to write your own code confidently, this is an excellent resource.
If you already know some programming and want to learn Perl 5, then Modern Perl is the book you should get. If you already know Perl 5, but don't think you know it well, or if you haven't kept up in developments in Perl 5 since the late 1990's, then Modern Perl will get you up to speed.
Perl and I used to have so much fun together. Back in the day (2000-2010), Perl was my right hand man. I used C/C++ and SQL to write project code, and Perl to analyze, automate, simulate, emulate, innovate, prototype, test, and generally blast obstacles out of the way. Some of my colleagues and managers were frightened of Perl - it was voodoo as far as they were concerned. A manager who clearly didn't get it chided me for bringing this Unix thing into his cozy little Windows shop, "Why would you use this Perl thing when you have Visual Basic available to you?" Yes, such a question can make one wince. However, Perl got results, quickly, and Perl culture was a blast.
I switched jobs, and found PowerShell had become the socially-acceptable scripting language for the Windows side, Python was the lingua franca for the Linux side, and Ruby was de rigeur for Chef for both sides. Absent a role, my old friend faded from view. Such is life in DevOps.
As it turns out, my old friend is now even more muscular, and still quite the party animal. However, this book shows that Perl has gotten some nice new features.
To be quite clear - this is NOT a book to use to learn Perl. Stick with the Llama book for that. This book assumes that you are using it to get reacquainted, and it succeeds wonderfully at that.
There's significant coverage of Moose (for doing OOP in an arguably superior way), all manner of popular and useful idioms, and a rather thorough exposition of Perl language features, shortcomings, and gotchas.
In my opinion, this is not a book for beginners. The reader should already have a rudimentary grasp of Perl, and at least a small bit of experience working with it.
All in all, beautifully done content. But please enlist an editor to review the Kindle edition, guys. Too many unnecessary typos. And it looks like footnotes did not get rendered properly as footnotes, instead appearing inline with the content they're supposed to annotate. Annoying.
I don't like the fonts chosen for the examples. Reserved words such as while, for, and keys are not in bold type which makes them difficult to read.
My copy, published in October 2010 covers changes up to Version 5.12
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