Bookreview: Professional Perl Programming

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Software Development

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original in en Guido Socher

en to en:Lorne Bailey

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Guido really likes Linux not only because it is a great operating system but because it is a community.

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"Professional Perl Programming" is a book from the Wrox "Programmer to Programmer" series. You get 4.2 kg of paper and a lot of know-how for about 80 Euro. The book covers basically all aspects of Perl 5.6 that one can think of.

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About 7 years ago I read my first book on Perl. It was "Learning Perl" by O'Reilly. Since then I have used Perl extensively for various projects. "Learning Perl" was at that time still about Perl 4 and I have only updated my knowledge by reading manual pages and online documentation.

The book "Professional Perl Programming" from Wrox looked like a good opportunity to get an update about all new features and have a good overview over Perl 5.6 and new functionality.

The book

"Professional Perl Programming" has over 1200 pages and covers almost every detail of the language. The book describes itself as immensely useful for both newcomers to Perl and experienced Perl Programmers.
Personally I would not recommend it to an absolute newcomer. It is written in the classical order starting with installation of Perl, data types, operators, complex data structures, flow control .... etc. This probably makes it too abstract and dry for a newcomer who might not yet know exactly what to do with this programming language. A tutorial style book like the above mentioned book from O'Reilly might be more suitable for a novice programmer.

Who should read the book? The book is in my opinion written for a Perl programmer with at least a basic knowledge. It covers almost all aspects of the language and in some places even provides details about Perl's internal functions. This helps to understand the strength and the limitations of certain features. It helps to write more optimal code. The book uses lots of small, independent examples and code snippets to illustrate the subjects. Every page has at least one such example. You can copy these small examples easily into your program and adjust them to your needs. Remember however that this is not a tutorial. The authors do not present an application or program that will gradually grow in functionality as you read the book.

Reading the book I learned some new details and had a lot of new ideas on how to make the Perl code I write better .

The book is as well very suitable as a reference. You can have it on the table beside your keyboard and use the 41 page alphabetical index to answer your questions. The small examples which you find on every page in the book will make programming very easy.