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Computer Science & Perl Programming: Best of The Perl Journal [Paperback]

Jon Orwant
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 14 2002 0596003102 978-0596003104 1

In its first five years of existence, The Perl Journal ran 247 articles by over 120 authors. Every serious Perl programmer subscribed to it, and every notable Perl guru jumped at the opportunity to write for it. TPJ explained critical topics such as regular expressions, databases, and object-oriented programming, and demonstrated Perl's utility for fields as diverse as astronomy, biology, economics, AI, and games. The magazine gave birth to both the Obfuscated Perl Contest and the Perl Poetry contest, and remains a proud and timeless achievement of Perl during one of its most exciting periods of development.

Computer Science and Perl Programming is the first volume of The Best of the Perl Journal, compiled and re-edited by the original editor and publisher of The Perl Journal, Jon Orwant. In this series, we've taken the very best (and still relevant) articles published in TPJ over its 5 years of publication and immortalized them into three volumes. This volume has 70 articles devoted to hard-core computer science, advanced programming techniques, and the underlying mechanics of Perl.

Here's a sample of what you'll find inside:

  • Jeffrey Friedl on Understanding Regexes
  • Mark Jason Dominus on optimizing your Perl programs with Memoization
  • Damian Conway on Parsing
  • Tim Meadowcroft on integrating Perl with Microsoft Office
  • Larry Wall on the culture of Perl
Written by 41 of the most prominent and prolific members of the closely-knit Perl community, this anthology does what no other book can, giving unique insight into the real-life applications and powerful techniques made possible by Perl.

Other books tell you how to use Perl, but this book goes far beyond that: it shows you not only how to use Perl, but what you could use Perl for. This is more than just The Best of the Perl Journal -- in many ways, this is the best of Perl.


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Review

"This excellent work from O'Reilly is the first in a valuable series of revised and edited reprints of the very best articles from the Journal. If you're looking for simple answers to generic problems, then this work is certainly not for you. On the other hand, for a thrilling, thought provoking read which will certainly stretch and enliven your coding approach, this volume comes highly recommended." - Martin Howse, Linux User & Developer, issue 27

About the Author

Jon Orwant founded The Perl Journal and received the White Camel lifetime achievement award for contributions to Perl in 2004. He's Engineering Manager at Google, where he leads Patent Search, visualizations, and digital humanities teams. For most of his tenure at Google, Jon worked on Book Search, and he developed the widely used Google Books Ngram Viewer. Prior to Google, he was CTO of O'Reilly, Director of Research at France Telecom, and a Lecturer at MIT. Orwant received his doctorate from MIT's Electronic Publishing Group in 1999.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Computer Science and Perl Programming May 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ahh how I miss The Perl Journal. This volume brings me right back to the good old days of humor and fine code. Unfortunately, The Perl Journal has been relegated to a quarterly supplement appearing in Sys Admin magazine. Thankfully, some of the knowledge found in the pages of The Perl Journal has been compiled here.
Computer Science and Perl Programming is a collection of 70 articles from The Perl Journal. It is the first volume of a set of three and, in my opinion, the best volume. Jon Orwant, the original editor of The Perl Journal, has done a great job in putting together this volume.
This volume is divided into tips for beginners, regular expressions, data structures, networking, databases, software development processes, object-oriented programming, and advanced Perl programming techniques. I particularly enjoyed the regular expressions, and networking sections. The data structures section was also very useful, as data structures in Perl can tend to be a bit odd. This volume has a good bit of programming knowledge crammed into it, and seems to be a bit more serious than the other two volumes.
All in all, a great read and a great reference to keep around. I would definitely advise anyone interested in Perl to pick up this set, you won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection Dec 13 2002
By Mark
Format:Paperback
Computer Science and Perl Programming is a collection of 70-odd articles from The Perl Journal magazine. As the title suggests it focusses on more of the theoretical side of perl. This is the first volume in a series of three books. The second one focusses on web and graphics, and the third one on games and diversions.
CS & PP is divided into seven sections as follows: Beginner Concepts, Regular Expressions, Computer Science, Programming Techniques, Software Development, Networking and Databases. The articles are straight reprints from TPJ and are written by a number of leading perl people such as Larry Wall, Damian Conway, Mark Jason Dominus, etc. Jon Orwant, the publisher of TPJ is the editor for this book.
I haven't finished this book yet but I've greatly enjoyed the articles I've read. A vast array of topics are covered, such as B-Trees, random number generators, benchmarking, makemaker, DBI and even Win32::ODBC and Microsoft Office. There's something for every perl programmer in this book. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection Dec 13 2002
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Computer Science and Perl Programming is a collection of 70-odd articles from The Perl Journal magazine. As the title suggests it focusses on more of the theoretical side of perl. This is the first volume in a series of three books. The second one focusses on web and graphics, and the third one on games and diversions.
CS & PP is divided into seven sections as follows: Beginner Concepts, Regular Expressions, Computer Science, Programming Techniques, Software Development, Networking and Databases. The articles are straight reprints from TPJ and are written by a number of leading perl people such as Larry Wall, Damian Conway, Mark Jason Dominus, etc. Jon Orwant, the publisher of TPJ is the editor for this book.
I haven't finished this book yet but I've greatly enjoyed the articles I've read. A vast array of topics are covered, such as B-Trees, random number generators, benchmarking, makemaker, DBI and even Win32::ODBC and Microsoft Office. There's something for every perl programmer in this book. Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely lovable and entirely unique Jan. 5 2005
By Scott D. Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The title is misleading in that it doesn't give the full impact of what's going on with this book. This book was written by somnething of a who's-who of the Perl community and it's similiarly a massive aggregation the best applications of nearly all of Perl's features. It's true that it's edited versions of TPJ articles but TPJ has always been hands-on and the feel is more as though the best pages were ripped out of already great Perl books to be arranged and edited into one volume. I urge you to think of this as a book in the vein of Programming Perl but written by everyone but Larry Wall. =)

Because nearly every article was written as the result of a Perl feature manifesting itself to violently break through a hard problem, this book contains a collection of examples that no single human could possible contrieve. Other books (even Programming Perl by comparison) relatively thoroughly demonstrate and document the language features but only this one shows each feature shining as it solves real problems in real problems taken from real life. You'll get a feel not only for the syntax of features but how to think about them. You'll start to spot new and better applications for Perl's features in your own programming work.

Compared to other books, it's more verbose than Programming Perl and it neglects the bare basics and moves much further with the ideas. It examines more macro scale ideas than the Perl Cookbook and generalizes thier applications rather than giving numerous specifics. The closest example I can think of is the styles and much of the contents of Advanced Perl Programming, Learning Regular Expressions, Learning Algorithms with Perl and several others rolled into one.

It goes into more depth on why things are the way they are than any other Perl book. For example, one chapter demonstrates how things would go wrong if the order of operators were different than how they are and using the good and bad arrangements walks the reader through infering what the relative orders are. Where other books list the order of operations in a matter-of-fact way, this one leaves you with a sense of order and rationality of things that your intuition and creativity can feed off of when programming.

Quoting from the foreword (Hi Mark Jason Dominus!): "It does not suffer from the usual flaw of the anthology, which is that the best you can hope for is that more than half of the articles are above average. On the contrary, it is by turns brilliant, witty, and profound.". And from the preface: "In a sense, this book was written very carefully and methodically over six years. ... Every issue, there were a lot of new subscribers, many of whom were new to Perl. Common sense dictated that I should include beginner articles in every issue, but I didn't like where that line of reasoning led. If I catered to the novices in every issue, far too many articles would be about beginner topics. ... So I did something very unusual for a magazine: I made it easy (and cheap) for subscribers to get all of the back issues when they subscribed, so they'd be able to enjoy the introductory material. A side effect of this approach was that the articles hang together very well: they tell a consistent "story" in a steady progress from TPJ #1 to TPJ #20...".

Perl's books have always been one of it's major strengths and I'm happy this trend continues. Computer Science & Perl Programming is delightful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Computer Science and Perl Programming May 18 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ahh how I miss The Perl Journal. This volume brings me right back to the good old days of humor and fine code. Unfortunately, The Perl Journal has been relegated to a quarterly supplement appearing in Sys Admin magazine. Thankfully, some of the knowledge found in the pages of The Perl Journal has been compiled here.
Computer Science and Perl Programming is a collection of 70 articles from The Perl Journal. It is the first volume of a set of three and, in my opinion, the best volume. Jon Orwant, the original editor of The Perl Journal, has done a great job in putting together this volume.
This volume is divided into tips for beginners, regular expressions, data structures, networking, databases, software development processes, object-oriented programming, and advanced Perl programming techniques. I particularly enjoyed the regular expressions, and networking sections. The data structures section was also very useful, as data structures in Perl can tend to be a bit odd. This volume has a good bit of programming knowledge crammed into it, and seems to be a bit more serious than the other two volumes.
All in all, a great read and a great reference to keep around. I would definitely advise anyone interested in Perl to pick up this set, you won't regret it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great Dec 14 2007
By Jerrad Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The material is great, but the first edition (at least) suffers from enough typesetting flaws to make some content difficult to follow. There are several instances where the prose indicates some text is supposed to be highlighted in some way but it is not e.g; bold to indicate differences from an earlier code listing, or variables missing the distinguishing overlines resulting in incomprehensible formulae.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but over my head Feb. 14 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed learning the algorithms they presented, but I don't have much use for them in my work. This is a good collection for those who are interested in doing very difficult work in the easiest Language to Succeed in; Perl.
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