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Modern Perl Paperback – December 7, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
First it is about Perl and how to make most out of Perl. Perl 5 has been blessed with some great additions in CPAN, which are not covered in most other Perl books (at least not in those I read so far). This book explains those additions and some concepts behind them. It is interesting and informative.
Second it was written in the true Perl spirit which is in the open, i.e., you could go to the books website and get the chapters still in draft. So there is feedback and improvement already in this first edition. With other books you have to wait for the second edition to have those things.
Third it shows that Perl 5 is not an old-fashioned language that cannot compete with the new hip languages, but Perl 5 still has a future. You just have to write the right kind of Perl code and the book explains how to do this.
In summary, if you like Perl 5, I'd say you will like this book.
If you want to learn what modern Perl is all about, be sure to grab a copy of this book.
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
Reading this book made me forget it was a programming book -- it is one of the best technical volumes I've ever read, bar none. The writing is to the point, and pulls everything together in a single concise volume. This book is a classic.
My only "criticism" is that it obsoletes a lot of well-worn Perl books on my bookshelf, but then, Perl keeps advancing so new books are needed.