Like Topsy, Perl just grew, and as a result the need for a third edition came about. It's now over 1,000 pages, which it needs to be, as it performs several different duties. First, it's an introduction to the Perl language for those who are new to programming; also, it's a guide for those who are coming from other languages; and, finally, it's a Perl language reference.
Among Larry Wall's other pursuits is being a linguist, and it's perhaps for this reason that Perl is a peculiarly flexible language with many routes to achieving the same ends, as the authors ably demonstrate. It's also extensible in several ways, designed to work with many other languages. Also, as it's largely interpreted, programs written in Perl tend to run unmodified on a variety of platforms--although platform-specific Perl modules and programming practices are also discussed.
A major strength of Programming Perl is the way subject areas are approached from several directions. This constant shift of viewpoint eliminates blind spots in the reader's understanding and provides a pleasing echo of the way Perl itself can take many routes from here to there.
Because the Perl community is both knowledgeable and active, the language covers much more ground here than in the previous edition. Even if you have both previous editions, you'll want this latest version--if only for the new jokes. --Steve Patient, amazon.co.uk
About the Author
Larry Wall originally created Perl while a programmer at Unisys. He now works full time guiding the future development of the language as a researcher and developer at O'Reilly & Associates. Larry is known for his idiosyncratic and thought-provoking approach to programming, as well as for his groundbreaking contributions to the culture of free software programming. He is the principal author of the bestselling Programming Perl, known colloquially as "the Camel book."
Tom Christiansen is a freelance consultant specializing in Perl training and writing. After working for several years for TSR Hobbies (of Dungeons and Dragons fame), he set off for college where he spent a year in Spain and five in America, dabbling in music, linguistics, programming, and some half-dozen different spoken languages. Tom finally escaped UW-Madison with B.A.s in Spanish and computer science and an M.S. in computer science. He then spent five years at Convex as a jack-of-all-trades working on everything from system administration to utility and kernel development, with customer support and training thrown in for good measure. Tom also served two terms on the USENIX Association Board of directors. With over fifteen years' experience in UNIX system administration and programming, Tom presents seminars internationally. Living in the foothills above Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by mule deer, skunks, and the occasional mountain lion and black bear, Tom takes summers off for hiking, hacking, birding, music making, and gaming.
Jon Orwant, a well-known member of the Perl community, founded The Perl Journal and co-authored OReillys bestseller, Programming Perl, 3rd Edition.