5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I know of for learning Perl
This really is the best book I know of for learning Perl, and I say that as someone who owns a very large pile of books on the subject. I first bought it when I started a year of full-time Perl programming, and it was the book that let me get up and running. Some years later, I *still* go back to it occasionally--there are some things that it just explains better than...
Published on Dec 1 2002 by Kevin B. Cohen
3.0 out of 5 stars good for Perl, bad for CGI
This book is a very good introduction to Perl. If your goal is to program CGI scripts, however, you will need an additional book. The chapter on CGI uses incomplete examples which cannot be run as-is. This is a change from the previous chapters which provided working examples. To parse incoming data, the author says you should use a perl module called CGI_Lite. But he...
Published on July 16 2001 by L. Goins
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Intro to Perl,
This review is from: Perl For Dummies (Paperback)This book seems to follow the pattern of most Dummies books I've read...give a good overview of the major considerations of the topic at hand, provide a few examples to help give the reader a feeling of empowerment, and indicate that there is much more to learn.
I came to this book needing to learn perl well enough to write some simple text modification programs for work. While this book does not replace a semester-long university course on the language (which is what I'm used to), it does give the reader enough information to jump in and start writing some simple perl programs...if your comfortable with the OS you're dealing with and if perl is already installed (I'm not sure I really could have accomplished those tasks with only the knowlege from this book).
I guess my take on this book and other Dummies books are like those infamous Cliff Notes from high school...simply reading these books won't make you an expert, but they can give valuable insight and pointers that you might not easily gain on your own. As an additional tool coupled with a little bit of programming experience and the provided perl documentation, Perl for Dummies has helped me get up to speed quickly and complete several important projects...which I don't think I would have been able to do otherwise.
2.0 out of 5 stars Leaving me with more questions than answers.,
This review is from: Perl For Dummies (Paperback)My definition of a good dummies book is one that answers questions rather than raise more of them. I've read up to chapter 5 so far in this book and already my mind is swarming with dozens of questions. And it's frustrating knowing that they aren't answered, or at least, not at this point.
I'm reading this book from cover to cover - I'm not using it as a reference. I really want to learn Perl. Therefore, I was hoping to truly understand WHY certain things are the way they are in this language... not just that "this does that." That's only 1/2 of the battle in programming. We have to know how these functions/variables relate to each other. That's what programming is all about - relations... but relationships aren't defined clearly (so far) in this book.
For example, the author goes through 2 examples of perl programs in Chapter 4. He illustrates what each part of the script does, but this is only partially satisfactory. Half of the displayed functions are definitions, instead of explanations. I found myself asking "Okay, so why is that part important? How does it relate to the other parts? Why does that need to be included? The chomp variable? Why include that here? Sure, I know what it DOES, but why include it here? Which variables are native to Perl and which aren't?" Many, many questions.
It feels like Chapter 4 belongs towards the end of the book, after we understand all of the basic functions/variables, etc. I skimmed through the book and found answers to questions I had at the beginning - which isn't very efficient.
I understand why something is important about 50% of the time with Perl for Dummies. The other 50% is spent looking in other chapters for answers, doing mental gymnastics in my head, or just moving on, hoping it will be explained in the next page or so.
Perhaps he does explain it, but not enough to my satisfaction. Or maybe it's all cleaned up in later chapters. It sounds like he wrote this assuming we would be able to figure out any missing parts. The book needs more clarity. I'm left more confused than enlightened.
It was only after applying a bit of my own computer know-how that I finally got a script to work - frustrating when the author doesn't make it clear you can make paths to the files you want to use Perl on. I eventually figured it out... but aren't Dummies books supposed to explain these things?
I'm not reviewing this book out of ignorance or disrespect for the author's knowledge and experience. He obviously knows what he is doing. I've programmed in Java before and it's easy to see the similarities. I'm also an experienced web developer.
I just wonder how I could be scratching my head so many times when this book is supposed adapt to the fact that I am a dummy. Good start, but gets confusing quickly.
If the book gets any better as I read, I will re-review it and adjust its rating accordingly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I know of for learning Perl,
If you're already an experienced programmer, you'll do fine reading the introductory material in Larry Wall et al.'s "Programming Perl," but whether you're an old hat at hacking or not, you'll get plenty out of this book. When you're up to speed, your next book should probably be "Programming Perl" or Nigel Chapman's "Perl: The Programmer's Companion."
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Perl book for begginners !,
It is amazing how easy this book makes even the more advanced features of Perl. WOW !
Perl is a wonderful and easy programming language for dealing with files, small and medium communication programs, pathches for other software and so on.
This book gives you a great start in that field, and it's fun !
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful,
By A Customer
That said, the book made me realize at the first glance when the code was bad, so it definitely taught me something. And now I feel ready to go back to the camel again.
1.0 out of 5 stars No Exercises At The End Of Chapters.,
3.0 out of 5 stars good for Perl, bad for CGI,
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good place to start,
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Worn Book that I Love,
By A Customer
With a good amount of work and concentration, you should be able to learn Perl with this book. Think of it as a starting point, because it will not likely teach you everything that you want to know. That's not the purpose of the dummies books.
In conclusion, I'm very happy that I chose this book as a starting point.
1.0 out of 5 stars Excerpt from "The Perl Jounal",
Summary: This is a really rotten book. Very few books are able to attain as many as eight major flaws:
1. 'Dummy' approach encourages and reinforces the reader's disability
2. Lack of concrete programming examples
3. Lack of general discussion of how to program, apart from language-specific features
4. Reference manual organization style
5. Inclusion of too many useless and abstruse features
6. Complicated explanations where simple ones are possible
7. Scaremongering and panic instead of calm explanation of affairs
8. Many, many technical errors, some very serious
I taught myself Perl with little programming background (BASIC, 20 years ago). I started 1 1/2 years ago and am now using it daily as a web developer and data analyst.
Learning Perl from the books and resources out there is *extremely* difficult. There were many times I could've saved 3 weeks of hammering on a script if a perl guru had said, "Hey, list context just means the function wants a list, like an array or hash." I understand very well that the O'Reilly books are godawful for a beginner b/c that's where I started and suffered long from every explanation that said simply, "It's just like in C, so we won't explain it." That said, the books are pretty terrific once you're at a level to absorb them, but steer clear before then, unless you already know everything that POSIX means.
It might be tempting to pick up this book b/c there are pretty much no Perl books for those who haven't coded already. You should consider "The Elements of Perl" instead of this one. It's a better start for beginners and a wonderful way to start to understand Perl, its idioms, its culture, and how to program well. There is also "The Perl Black Book" which is a much better overview of the Perl than any single O'Reilly book, though the author isn't a guru, he's a good writer and tackles everything from the basics to advanced stuff with lots of examples and a CD with all the code.
Perl is wonderful, so please do pick up a book, just not this one.
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Perl For Dummies by Paul Hoffman (Paperback - March 21 2003)
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