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Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Castro
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 29 2001 0201735687 978-0201735680 2

Perl is one of the most popular scripting languages for adding powerful interactive features to Web pages. Perl lets you place forms on your site that collect and process user input such as comments and product orders; enables visitors to search for information; and can integrate a database into your site, among its many other capabilities. Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide fully revised and updated since its original 1998 release, gets users to the core of CGI scripting with Perl. Even first-time programmers will be able to create useful, workable scripts from scratch, or adapt and customize existing scripts to their own needs. Hundreds of screen shots and clear, easy-to-understand directions make this the perfect Perl book for beginners, as well as a handy reference for those with previous programming experience.

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One of the best things about Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web is the seamless way the author incorporates terminology into her explanations. Elizabeth Castro, author of HTML 4 for the World Wide Web, understands the intermediate user: someone who would be bored by a beginner's guide, but isn't ready to step up to heavy-hitting programming texts either.

In Perl and CGI, she explains basic concepts--such as the difference between a compiled and an interpreted script--within the text, so there's no need to keep flipping back to the glossary. Readers should be familiar with HTML and comfortable with technical explanations, diagrams, and general vocabulary.

Anyone trying to get a grasp on something as complex and powerful as Perl will appreciate Castro's relatively straightforward technique. For example, in the first chapter, Castro explains some basic Perl concepts sensibly: that the $ stands for the s in scalar; the @ sign stands for the a in array; and that the % that labels a hash or associative array indicates two circles on each side of the slash as parts of a pair. This granular, logical way of building Perl knowledge will get new Perl users started. More experienced users will want to use this book as a workbook and refresher. --Jennifer Buckendorff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Perl is by far the most popular programming language for creating scripts that add powerful interactive features to Web pages. Included on most UNIX platforms and available free of charge for Windows and Macintosh, Perl lets you place forms on your Web site that collect and process user input such as product orders and comments, enables visitors to conduct keyword searches, and lets you integrate a database into your site, among many other capabilities.

Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide gets you to the heart of Perl scripting with CGI. Even first-time programmers will be able to create interactive Web pages and, more importantly, use their newfound familiarity with Perl to understand and customize the multitude of scripts that already exist on the Web. Following on the huge success of Elizabeth Castro's top-selling HTML 4: Visual QuickStart Guide ---the book on HTML--her Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide is sure to become the choice for learning Perl and CGI. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome for newbies Jan. 18 2004
Firstly you should have some programming background to get the most out of this book - Unix platform being the most helpful. This book leaves no guesswork for the reader and provides everything you need to know in using CGI today! The best part of Elizabeth's books is that she provides a website for Q&A, updates, and revisions as supplemental material. She is truely one of the few authors who takes care and effort in trying to maximize a reader's understanding of the material. Yes this is a newbie book, nothing is glossed over or left to the imagination. I'm actually a fan of the 1st edition of this book and would recommend it instead. However, the 2nd edition is the result of suggestions and input from readers of the 1st edition as well as providing information on how to set up a desktop web-server to test your scripts. If your test platform is Linux then everything you'll need comes standard. If it's Windows then you'll have some choices to make and install (don't worry it's all free). If using Mac OS10.x then your test platform is ready to go with little effort!
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Castro has written several books in the Visual Quick Start series including her best-selling HTML book and more recently her book on XML. I've been using the HTML and Perl/CGI books since 2001 on various projects and have found them extremely useful. I have a few other books in the VQS series and I can tell you that they are not all created equal. Castro, however, is pretty thorough which is why this book is not only a good starting place, but a usable reference as well.
Some topics covered include getting familiar with Perl syntax and functions, installing Perl, communicating with Web servers, creating HTML pages and forms, serving up data, and dealing with security. If you know any programming language, you can begin to pick up Perl very quickly from her examples. In fact I used this book to tackle my first Perl script and had it working fairly quickly. She assumes some knowledge of HTML and the basics of Web servers and browsers.
Advanced topics such as using databases to store or retrieve data on Web pages is not covered in this fairly small book, but that is a topic worthy of a separate book anyway. Other issues such as dealing with specific Web servers are also best left to other books. For the price and ease of use, I highly recommend Castro's book. You'll be seeing the results of your first CGI script in no time at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Jumping-Off Point May 8 2003
Many educational books lead you along a plodding path, and if you skip ahead, you find yourself lost in the woods.
My motivation to learn anything is that I already have a practical application in mind and I want to gain enough knowledge to write it. If I don't have more applications on the back burner, I may well forget half of what I learned once the application is written, but I accept that about myself.
The organization of this book was such that it was easy to jump back and forth through the chapters, getting a handle on the bits I needed to write my script.
When I paused a few months, forgot a lot, then had another bright idea for a script, it was easy to dive right back in, using this book to refresh my knowledge and expand it a bit.
On the other hand, if you're coming in as a stark beginner, you can go through it chapter by chapter while you build up the confidence to start bouncing around.
It is mainly a survey of different concepts, without going too deeply into any. That's why it's called a "quickstart" guide. It's supposed to help you get out of the gate quickly and it does so excellently.
You may find that once you go beyond simple scripting, you'll need a more advanced book to help you dig down into the guts of Perl, but once you get to that point, you'll find that the [ahhhem] dollars you spent on this book were a heck of an investment, because you'll be able to plow into those more advanced tomes and not feel lost.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An eagle among the turkeys Dec 12 2002
By A Customer
Last week I knew nothing about CGI or how to go about learning it. I've been in the computer industry for decades & am well aware how difficult it is to find a good book on anything to do with computer technology. As I browsed the shelves of internet books at my local bookstore, looking for something that would help, I have to admit I felt somewhat disheartened by the hopelessness of the task. You see, there were so many books on the internet and it seemed, each were 700 pages or more in length. (I looked at a few of them. Hopelessly complex.)

There wedged between two 100 pounders were two copies of Perl and CGI for the world wide web. By pure chance, I reached over and picked one of them, took a seat and began to browse through it. In no time, I found my self scribbling down web addresses mentioned in P&CGI until I came across the section on getting and installing a personal web server. How to set up your own little test environment. It was written in plain English ... and small capsules of information that could easily be understood. I was sold! I paid for it and hurried home. Within a few hours I was deep into the book, having downloaded the requisite PWS and set up my development environment. Everything worked exactly as your book says. When I uploaded my simple CGI script to my basic webpage voila! it worked there too! Now I know how marconi felt when first he heard the crackling of the radio signal coming across the Atlantic!

This is why I writing to you. I feel compelled to congratulate you on the marvelous job you've done in presenting this material. There are only two other books I can remember in my 30-year love affair with computers that come close to your book ... both were on PC-Forth. Yours is an amazing feat. A fantastic introduction that demystifies CGI, Perl and web programming. You deserve a gold star! <gold star>.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good beginner book but you will need to know HTML
I bought this book to put CGI on my own website. When you send your data on the examples in this book they go to the authors CGI pages at a web site ([... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Bruce T. Rosier
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my style
I found both the layout and the text of this book difficult to learn from. With its small visual chunks, my eyes had to jump around the page excessively in order to take in the... Read more
Published on March 21 2003 by Melliforte
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best nerd book ever written
I was on vaction and decided to learn cgi that is the only book i have ever read on the subject and i have now written a chat room severall useful scripts i have an everychat... Read more
Published on March 1 2003 by Thomas Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good For Web only users of Perl
If your interested in Perl programming for your web site...THIS IS THE BOOK. I bought Perl for Dummies which was good but too broad-based. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2002 by Harry A. Stover
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent starter; useful reference into intermediate level
This is a great book for the intermediate to well-seasoned HTML coder who is looking to explore server-side scripting. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2002 by "p34z"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Learners Guide
Although I am computer knowledgeable and have several certifications, I knew absolutely nothing about Perl and CGI before reading this text. Read more
Published on June 9 2002 by Harold McFarland
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book
I think Elizabeth Castro did a great job in this book.
I went from a completely beginner on Perl to intermediate. Read more
Published on May 28 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book.
The book purports to be a visual quickstart guide. However, you will need a microscope to view the examples; which after close examination, you will find to be the same examples... Read more
Published on April 24 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Perl For Newbies
Work in Windows or Mac? Want to find out how to do something with Perl and CGI on your computer under Windows or Mac? Excellent starter reference book. Ms. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Bruce M. Mckay
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