Industrial Deals HPC Save up to 90% on textbooks Womens Red and Rose nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc New year, new music. Amazon music Unlimited. Learn more. All-New Fire 7, starting at $49.99 Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade 2018 Planners modern furniture and decor Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon harrypotter harrypotter harrypotter  Three new members of the Echo family Today only: Save $30 on All-New Fire HD 8. Limited-time offer. Kindle Paperwhite GNO Shop now

Customer Review

on December 28, 2005
The first 108 pages of "Pro Perl Parsing" deal with basic parsing concepts and give examples on how to use a CPAN module to define parsers. It's not quite accurate at times, though: The author uses the terms 'precedence' and 'associativity' interchangably, although these are orthogonal concepts. And the parser on page 82 has a design flaw (hint: try parsing "(5*(3+4))+1)", which yields 40, ouch!).

Then come 30 pages with a manual-page style explanation of Damian Conway's Parse::RecDescent module, along with some interesting tidbits here and there.

However, I would have expected to read a better explanation of the underlying parsing theory, like a distilled and simplified version of the "Dragon" book (Aho, "Compilers"). I would have liked to read how to write a custom parser from scratch in Perl, like in Mark Jason Dominus' "Higher Order Perl". Also, I would have expected more practical examples on how to tackle common parsing problems.

However, the second half of the book starts with an explanation of the HTML language. We get to know how titles and lists and links are done in HTML. Then we learn how to fetch web pages with Perl. Also, we learn about web services via SOAP and XML-RPC, about formatting output in Perl and are getting a chapter on "data mining". These topics aren't related to "parsing" at all, though.

There's an example on page 202 on how to parse command line arguments by lumping them all together to form a single string and then firing up an expensive recursive descent parser to tear them apart. Experienced Perl programmers would solve this common problem elegantly in a single line of Perl, using the Getopt::Std module.

So, I'm somewhat ambivalent on this book. Since there's not many books on Perl parsing, I was excited about it, but I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of depth, accuracy, and the filler-style second half of the book. I would have liked to read more about parsing in Perl and less about how to use CPAN modules dealing with parsing-related topics. Had the book maintained a strong focus on plain "parsing", it could have been a slam-dunk five-star. So, it's only three -- worth reading, but not a potential classic.
0Comment| 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse| Permalink
What's this?

What are product links?

In the text of your review, you can link directly to any product offered on To insert a product link, follow these steps:
1. Find the product you want to reference on
2. Copy the web address of the product
3. Click Insert product link
4. Paste the web address in the box
5. Click Select
6. Selecting the item displayed will insert text that looks like this: [[ASIN:014312854XHamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)]]
7. When your review is displayed on, this text will be transformed into a hyperlink, like so:Hamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)

You are limited to 10 product links in your review, and your link text may not be longer than 256 characters.

Product Details

4.2 out of 5 stars
$14.95+ $3.99 shipping