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on April 28, 2018
I wish other languages would get this level of attention from the support community. This book in intended to be used with a program called "perlcritic". But even before you use that, it is wise to also run "perltidy" to make sure you don't have syntax problems.
I wish EVERY programming language had these two systems. Most people learning programming languages have little awareness that not only can you say the same thing many different ways, but also each different way has advantages and disadvantages.
Javascript, VBScript, even VBasic should have these kinds of checkers. So, on ANY platform, consider PERL and this book to write scripts which are not only powerful but far more error free than almost any other language.
This is the ultimate DWIMNWIS (Do What I Mean, Not What I Say). You'd be surprised what people say unintentionally ...
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on May 28, 2014
Perl is frequently criticized for being messy, hard to read, and unmaintainable... a complaint which is not without merit. Perl Best Practices is a direct response to that criticism, and goes a long way towards resolving those issues. Any team, or any individual for that matter, who is writing Perl code for a living should read this book and implement it's recommendations.

Perl is an extraordinarily flexible language, which by design puts as few constraints on the programmer as possible. This freedom lets it do amazing things, and is part of what makes Perl so powerful, but it is a double-edged sword. The fact that the language itself does not force you to conform to an arbitrary style of "good" programming means that the onus is on the programmer to be self-disciplined. Perl Best Practices (PBP) provides guidelines for that self-discipline, and the tool it inspired - perlcritic - provides an enforcement mechanism.
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on November 2, 2009
I came to perl from a C++ background, and was initially horrified by the aspects of perl that control-freak-language developers usually are. However, after using it on and off for a couple of years it became my language of choice because it's so quick and easy to do things that just take too much coding in other languages. (As a friend of mine said who kept pushing me to get used to perl, "Yes, Dave, perl *is* the dark side, but once you go there you'll never want to go back...")

Being A Good Developer I have purchased a number of perl books, and several of those have been useful. The problem is that there's a tremendous amount to remember, especially if you're not coding 100% in perl, especially since encyclopediac reference books just don't have time for the 'why' aspect.

This book excels in a few important ways:

1) There's always a 'why' given, and the right way and the wrong way are contrasted. This makes it, for me, far easier to remember things. It helps that the author uses English very well, and I virtually never find myself wondering what he meant. (In too many programming books, there's just not enough editing of the explanations, and very poor English.)

2) While I don't always agree with the author's best practices, most of the time I do, and he always makes his case well.

3) He shows both 'before and after' code, and gets the amount of code needed to make the point exactly right. I almost never find myself flipping past over-long examples, nor do I find myself not getting things because he's too concise.

This book was both highly useful and a pleasure to read. (Perl is indeed the dark side, but now I revel in the dark side.)
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on September 28, 2017
While I don't see this book as the "perl bible", I consider it my baseline for referencing the spirit behind how things *should* be done. perlcritic -2, then look up the recommendation, read about the reason behind the warning, then implement the suggestion or learn the reason behind it for future work.
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on November 23, 2008
Not only do these practices apply to Perl, but they apply to any language. I have told several people who are not perl progreammers to references several of the practices since they hold true in any language.

This is a purely practical book on how to write code that anyone can read and follow with minmal effort. It covers various aspects of coding styles and gives clear concice reasons for WHY they should be used. You can for example, using this book, give a clear reference why spaces should be used over tabs, or why underscores in variable names are simply easier for humans to parse than CamelCase.
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on July 2, 2015
I'm glad I read this book in advance, helps me see Perl from a different perspective even though I haven't started writing my own code yet... It helps to know what habits to avoid in advance...
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on March 12, 2014
If you want to really clean up your Perl coding, this is the book for you, Damian Conway really covers the language it's gotcha's and how to avoid them, loads of useful tips
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on March 13, 2013
I think this makes a great third book after:

Learning Perl

Intermediate Perl

I don't agree with everything in the book, far from it. For example I'm not using inside-out objects. But I have adopted a number of the practices. The real value of the book for me was learning more about Perl as I evaluated each recommendation. At my level of Perl at the time I found this book more understandable than Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl (2nd Edition) (Effective Software Development Series) which is more of an advanced Perl book.
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on October 16, 2014
The book has many good tips to write maintainable, readable code. Although the book is focused on Perl, many of the tips can be applied to many other languages (indenting, named arguments, variables and subroutine names, ...). You may not agree with all the tips. E.g., you might prefer indent by 3 spaces instead of 4. Those are minor details compared to the wealth of tips in the book.
If you have been programming for a while, you might already developed many of the suggested practices (modularizing, localizing variables). You may still learn some practices, not as many as a beginner would.
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on September 14, 2007
This a great manual. Instead of being a reference like most books that you may only need parts of, every chapter has some interesting information and is applicable to daily coding. Since at this point you can learn a lot of Perl just on Google, textbook style manuals are on the way out. Best practices, though, is still very applicable. I wish I had read this book years ago looking back at my functional but awkward scripts.
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