- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (July 22, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780596001735
- ISBN-13: 978-0596001735
- ASIN: 0596001738
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Perl Best Practices: Standards and Styles for Developing Maintainable Code Paperback – July 19, 2005
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About the Author
Damian Conway holds a PhD in Computer Science and is an honorary Associate Professor with the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.Currently he runs an international IT training company--Thoughtstream--which provides programmer development from beginner to masterclass level throughout Europe, North America, and Australasia.Damian was the winner of the 1998, 1999, and 2000 Larry Wall Awards for Practical Utility. The best technical paper at the annual Perl Conference was subsequently named in his honour. He is a member of the technical committee for The Perl Conference, a keynote speaker at many Open Source conferences, a former columnist for The Perl Journal, and author of the book Object Oriented Perl. In 2001 Damian received the first "Perl Foundation Development Grant" and spent 20 months working on projects for the betterment of Perl.A popular speaker and trainer, he is also the author of numerous well-known Perl modules, including Parse::RecDescent (a sophisticated parsing tool), Class::Contract (design-by-contract programming in Perl), Lingua::EN::Inflect (rule-based English transformations for text generation), Class::Multimethods (multiple dispatch polymorphism), Text::Autoformat (intelligent automatic reformatting of plaintext), Switch (Perl's missing case statement), NEXT (resumptive method dispatch), Filter::Simple (Perl-based source code manipulation), Quantum::Superpositions (auto-parallelization of serial code using a quantum mechanical metaphor), and Lingua::Romana::Perligata (programming in Latin).Most of his time is now spent working with Larry Wall on the design of the new Perl 6 programming language.
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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.
This is the ultimate DWIMNWIS (Do What I Mean, Not What I Say). You'd be surprised what people say unintentionally ...
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Damian compares different styles of writing the code, explains potential problems (sometimes very subtle and difficult to catch), and explains how to write the code which is more readable and maintainable.
I highly recommend this book. Whether you are a newbee or a veteran - you will enjoy reading it.