- Paperback: 1092 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3rd edition (July 24, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596000278
- ISBN-13: 978-0596000271
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 2.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 369 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Programming Perl (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition
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Larry Wall wrote Perl and he wrote Programming Perl. Better yet, he writes amusingly and well--all of which comes across in this latest edition of the definitive guide to the language.
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.
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- You want the online documentation with some extra fluff on databases, extra examples and the DBI spec. in one handy place (pages 187 - 333 are pretty much available online, the rest of the book is the online material filled out).
- You are interested in learning about the DBI, the book is about the DBI rather than database programming.
This is not a good book, IF:
- You want to learn how to program databases from the web (the widest application of Perl today is covered on one example/page and is an absolute joke).
- You want to learn how to program databases other than Oracle (the massive Windows market, and other markets are left to you, the reader, to extrapolate techniques from the book to practice).
This is a terrible book, IF:
- You are a Perl/programming beginner.
- You want to learn about databases.
- You want to troubleshoot your application (to not include much more driver specific material, when the DBI relies so heavily on the database's driver, means that essentially the book's use is very limited in the real world).
The DBI is a great tool in the Perl armoury; this book does not do it justice. You will learn more from the online documentation, DBI mailing list and the very generous Perl community than you could ever get from here - save your money (The forthcoming 'Web Databases with Perl' from Manning looks far more promising, but it's not out until Oct 2000).
Of course, if the book is supposed to be nothing more than a guide to the DBI in the very limited scope of being a recycle and slight expansion of existing material, then you can't fault it, and it is a nice read. A lot of the reviews for the book reflect this sentiment. However, if you are after more, you will end up questioning what O'Reilly were thinking. On these grounds three stars is generous.
If you are a casual programmer though, I must caution you that this book is pretty intense reading. I found it helps to read this book while reading the "Perl Cookbook". The chapters for each book correlate to each other. This book explains how everything works, while the Cookbook shows you how to apply these concepts in real life situations.
One complaint I had about this book were the unclear examples. Other books by O'Reilly such as "Learning Perl" and "Perl Cookbook" will label each line of code in their examples so that there is no ambiguity. However the example scripts in this book are sparsely labled, so it is not always clear what the author's intent is.
However, if you feel up to the challenge, I would definitely recommend this book. After reading this book, your understanding of Perl will improve dramatically. In addition, the last few chapters will provide a very useful reference regarding Perl's many modules, functions and such. For serious programmers, you will thank yourself for buying this book.
Don't get me wrong. I love using Perl, and this book is very interesting at times because Larry Wall is an interesting guy. But the discussion is a little dithering and philosophical.
It also has very few example programs. The book recommends that you use _Perl Cookbook_ (from the same publisher) as a companion. While _Perl Cookbook_ is a very good book, it's kind of silly to buy two books if you just want to learn intermediate Perl concepts.
As an alternative to _Programming Perl_, I highly recommend _Intermediate Perl_ from the same publisher (it has an alpaca on the cover). _Intermediate Perl_ is more concise; more informative; better structured; and has more examples.
But after you've spent some time writing simple Perl scripts, this is an excellent choice for your SECOND Perl book. Don't be alarmed if you don't understand everything; this can also be your fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth Perl book. As your experience grows, this is the book you'll keep coming back to -- and not just for the reference material. You'll learn more each time you read it, but only the parts you're ready for NOW will stick with you.
Challenging and rewarding.
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