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on September 1, 2002
Disclaimer: The author is an online-type-friend and I used to work with the author of the foreword. I even got my copy for free.
If the above hasn't totally disqualified me from commenting, I just wanted to note some things most reviewers have ignored.
The book is an excellent resource for two kinds of people.
Many people scan technical books looking for little scripts and thingies; a few lines changed and BOOM! They have the program they always wanted. Sean provides those in abundance.
It is also a good resource for a complete novice to learn about the hodgepodge of technologies we call the web - the ... wire protocol, markup languages, tree-based parsers, and encodings, to name just a few. The author is an expert in all of these, but has restrained himself to provide just enough information to get a programmer going. I was impressed time and again with how he manages to give the reader exactly enough knowledge to get their tasks done, with short but accurate explanations and pointers on where to learn more.
Best of all, this is a funny technical book. Usually if a technical book has pretensions to humor, it jabs you in the arm repeatedly with lots of groaner puns and dumb cartoons, in order to fill the space between bland code sections. But Sean has sprinkled the *code sections* with his dada sense of humor, which also highlights the difference between mere placeholder data and the concept being illustrated. And then the text gets right back to the point.
This is a slim work (242 pages, no thicker than my thumb) but packs a lot of value for your money. So buy it already.
My only criticism is that it is exclusively focused on consuming services on the web - like downloading TV listings and so on. But you can use everything Sean talks about to also *publish* information; for instance, making some nifty Perl-based thing to update your online journal from MS Word or something. Or to aggregate information that's out there, and feed it back onto the web. Nevertheless, if you've got half a brain it will be obvious how to do this stuff once you've absorbed everything you'll get from this book.
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on July 26, 2015
Good reference with lots of examples.
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on July 12, 2003
If you aren't yet comfortable using object-oriented Perl modules, the multitude of examples will at least allow you see how it's done even if you're a bit fuzzy on what's happening 'underneath' when you call object methods. If you're comfortable learning how to do something without knowing exactly why it works, then the author's clear step-by-step explantions and numerous progressively more powerful examples should make this book accessible even to relatively innexperienced Perl programmers.
More experienced programmers will understand better why things work, but any Perl programmer will set this book down feeling empowered to turn the web into their own valet. No longer do you need to check multiple sites looking for interesting information. Instead, you can readily author code to do that for you and alert you when items of interest are found. You can use these tools to free up personal time, to harvest information to inform business decisions, to automate tedious web application testing, and a zillion other things.
The author's clear exploration of the relevant Perl modules leaves the reader with a good depth of understanding of what these modules do, when you might want to use which module, and how to use them for real world tasks. Before reading the book, I knew of these modules, but they were a rather intimidating pile. I'd used a few of them on occasion for rather limited projects, but was reluctant to invest the time required to read all of the documentation from the whole collection. Mountains of method-level documentation do not a tutorial make. This book takes all of that information, selects the most important parts, and ensures that those parts are covered in progressively more powerful and/or flexible examples.
If you know Perl and you're sick of 'working the web' to get information and you want the web to work for you instead, then you need this book. I had a personal project that was on the back burner for a couple of years because it just sounded too hard. The weekend after I finished this book, I wrote what I had previously thought to be the hard part of that project and it was both easy and fun. This book makes hard things not just possible, but actually easy.
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on November 5, 2002
I really don't know how the previous 5 reviews gave this book 5 stars. I was really excited about this book when I first read the reviews, and now here I am only a few chapters in and already thinking about dumping it altogether. This book has so many flaws for its size, the biggest of which was the codes. I am no Perl expert, but could find my way around in a decent size program. However, no examples I have tried so far in the book actually worked, and some of these are just 10-20 lines long. I am completely new to LWP, I guess like anyone who would buy this book, so it's hard for me to see what the author is doing. The explanation of the code didn't help much either. As oppose to explaining the steps, he just said "the code below does this". And it's pretty obvious little or no editing has gone into this book. If you do buy this book, you'll probably want to make a trip to the Errata page at the Oreilly website. The amount of typos, printing errors, warnings and grammatical mistakes found by readers and editors listed on this page rivals the usuable content of the book itself. You know what, I have spent way too much on this book already.....
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on February 24, 2011
I needed to use LWP to interact with various web APIs; 'Perl & LWP' turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Although it's dated, the book contains a wealth of information about the module and working with HTTP in Perl.

It is worth noting that in 2007, the book's author, Sean Burke, published the text of the book on his personal website at [...]. If you're thinking of purchasing the Kindle edition of this book (like I ended up doing), you may be better off using his site. Clearly, if you want a physical copy of the book Amazon is still a great way to go.
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on July 7, 2017
Great reference book, with immediately-useful content. Coding examples make the information crystal clear.
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on August 6, 2016
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on December 13, 2014
son loves it
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on July 13, 2007
This is not your typical clunker with endless pages of filler material. It gets right to the point. If you want to learn about using Perl to interact with the internet, this would be a good book to help you get there. I have purchased several Perl books that supposedly teach you how to write code for use with the internet, but they are difficult to understand, and most of the examples just don't work. This book is an exception to that trend. It is the only one I have found so far that has useable, workable examples. The subject matter is still challenging, but Burke is able to explain it enough to give you a clue. If you are looking for help in handling HTTP programmatically, then here is your book.
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on August 26, 2012
I can't tell if that is a goat or a horse, or 2 goats or 2 horses...maybe one or each...whatever. I did enjoy something about this book, or I would not be all the way down here...ahem. Actually, I do prefer girls, FYI.
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