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Perl in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference Paperback – Jun 13 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (June 13 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002411
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 15.1 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 939 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #559,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Exactly as advertised, "Perl in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference" is a great reference book if you already have a basic understanding of Perl. Although it does have a section that it refers to as an "Introduction to Perl" it is actually a pretty cursory introduction and there are better books for learning the basics of Perl.
The book does have an excellent section on installing Perl including installation on both the Unix and Windows platforms. I've worked with both platforms and the installation process is well documented including how to install modules. This brings us to the large chapter on getting and installing Perl modules. I have spent hours sometimes trying to find an appropriate module for a special situation. This chapter lists all the most common modules and includes descriptions of what they do. This alone makes it a valuable resource for anyone involved in Perl.
The authors also include a lot of technical information including command line options and environment variables as well as a section on program structure, data types, special variables, operators, expressions, subroutines, filehandles, and just about anything else that you might need a quick refresher on.
Functions are listed both by category and by alphabetical order with descriptions and syntax information. I had a couple of problems on a large project recently and it took three days to get an answer through the forums on the Internet. The answers to all of them are right here and I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had had this book then.
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Format: Paperback
This is a handy reference, but if you have a limited budget you should probably go with Programming Perl and the Perl Cookbook before this one. This is a fine reference but it doesn't have the depth that the other books have and the information on the modules is available online through CPAN. I have the entire Perl library on my bookshelf and I hardly ever pick this one up.
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By J. Trelfa on Sept. 6 2002
Format: Paperback
I am not a beginning programmer nor am I what you would call an expert. Having a background in PHP made Perl easy to learn, so I didn't need a book that would "teach" Perl. All I needed was a good reference to figure out the differences between PHP and Perl. This book did exactly that! I was able to start programming within a day and I have referenced this book more times than I can count during my most recent development efforts. The binding is nearly worn out! I recommend this book to intermediate programmers that only need a small boost to get to work. If you're a beginner, buy this book to use after you learn the basics and you'll find it to be one of the most valuable tools on your desk!
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Format: Paperback
This book is full of alphabetical high level descriptions (which are always ambiguous) of Perl language statements with few or no illustrative examples (which always help clear up ambiguity).
It is a waste of money.
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Format: Paperback
My 2-star review is from the perspective of an intermediate Perl user. From my exp. with 'Unix in a Nutshell', I expected this book to be all I needed in my briefcase at work. As it turns out, I'll take the "Camel" (Programming Perl) and leave this uninspiring book at home.
Let me give you an example: I was poring over a (slightly) complicated regular expression, trying to figure out what was going on...there seemed no rhyme or reason to it.....there were way too many spaces and yet the pattern was matching!! I then noticed the "x" option on the end of it: /reg-ex/x Thinking this could be the culprit, I broke out Perl:NUTSHELL...I found the appropriate table and it said: this option used to Enable Extended regular expressions. Ah-ha! But wait, what are Extended regular Epressions, and what is the deal with all these extra spaces in my reg-ex? I forwarded a bit and found the section about Extended Regular Expressions. And I found.........nothing. As it turns out (after looking in the Camel), the "x" means that all whitespace in the pattern is ignored, hence all the darn spaces. I made a point to look (again) for this bit of syntactic info in Perl:NUTSHELL, and it is not there. So what is the use of this book then, considering it is missing such a BASIC SYNTAX rule? Good question.
Another gripe: where's the freakin examples? While I don't expect NUTSHELL books to EXPLAIN the examples tutorial style, I do expect some basic usage examples to help me with commands I havn't used (again, see Unix in a Nutshell)!!
Another quick example for you Perl non-gurus (like myself): I came upon the Perl "filetest" operator "-t"....but the test had no following argument (e.g. the file's name), so I was confused. Off to the Nutshell. Oops.
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Format: Paperback
This book consists of a 150-page Perl manpage, plus a big, fat catalog of Perl packages. It's great for finding out what's available, but once you've spotted your prey and want to make use of it, you may have to mess around with it for a while to get it to work -- which is where the examples would have been useful.
(Of course, if it actually had examples, it would be called "Ultimate Perl Encyclopedia Unleashed", be 1300 pages, and would put all the other Perl authors out of business. This way, we programmers get to enjoy our hobby of book collecting.)
Is it worth buying? Yes. But you'll need other books (e.g., Hall: Effective Perl Programming, which is FILLED with nice examples) to show you how to use Perl. And be sure to download or buy the Programming Perl Quick Reference Guide.
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