Perl: The Programmer's Companion Paperback – Oct 7 1997
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There are now a number of good Perl books available, but this excellent contribution stands out in a number of ways (apart from the rarity that it's not from O'Reilly). The most significant way may be that Perl's computer-scientist author advocates the use of Perl as a full-fledged programming language in addition to recommending its use for system administration or CGI programs.
This book is a fine introduction to Perl for experienced C, C++, and Java programmers. Perl has plenty of sidebars that explain the differences between Perl and these other languages and how Perl can help you overcome the limitations of these languages.
Chapman starts off with language basics, but instead of listing all the basic constructs and introducing the obligatory "Hello, world!" program, he introduces you to what he terms "programming idioms." This thought-provoking approach gradually eases you into learning the basic Perl constructs without presenting you with dry examples and tables of potentially confusing information. By the time you realize what's going on, it's too late: you've already learned something. The book has some great chapters, and it even describes how to scope variables correctly (apparently no mean feat, since few tutorials get it right).
The advanced chapters on references and objects really shine. Examples of objects lead you through a logical progression from project visualization to finished product. The author then assists you in creating a set of modules that calculate taxes for a small town, where different rates exist for business and residential buildings. Here, the guide introduces and explains several key concepts for Perl object manipulation.
The examples in the book make sense and, best of all, they are original and have real-world relevance. When explaining pack() and unpack(), the author creates a wonderful example of parsing the headers of a MIDI file to gather track data and then process the individual tracks of the file. While the book does not pack the heft of some Perl tomes (it only contains 273 pages), it's crammed with great examples and ideas. In short, Perl: The Programmer's Companionis a great addition to any Perl programmer's library.
From the Publisher
An introduction to the latest version of Perl. With the increase in Web-based technology, Perl has become the language of choice for creating CGI applications, an essential process for creating large Web pages. This book introduces the latest version, Perl5, to programmers, illustrating the language's strengths and weaknesses. It teaches programmers how to write sophisticated Perl scripts and covers all of the new benefits of Perl5, including improved reusability and enhanced object-oriented programming support.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Be aware, however, that this book will confuse you in no time if you're not already familiar with another programming language. He doesn't start with the classic "Hello, world!" example but quickly jumps into regular expressions, and he doesn't go out of his way to explain concepts like arrays and objects before teaching their syntax. Chapman concludes with overviews of some useful modules and CGI programming (both sections are somewhat outdated by now, though).
My criticisms of this book are that its layout is somewhat primitive (this is not exactly a pretty book), and Chapman is afraid to venture too far into anything that's even slightly OS-dependent, like sockets and database programming (not included in his overview of modules). In my version, there also aren't any exercises at the end of the chapters.
Overall, however, this book is PERFECT for you if you're somewhat literate (in at least one programming language and in the English language) and would like to learn Perl as quickly as possible. Highly recommended. And unlike whatever reviewers have suggested, I think it makes a lovely reference, too.
"Perl: The Programmer's Companion" belongs to an higher class: the class of book written by talented, professional teachers. In this book, every single feature of Perl is clearly explained in detail. You can find simple, clear, meaningful and reusable examples of every element of the language. The book is clearly structured and it is easy to find what you need.
The author demonstrates a clear understanding of the human learning process, besides a clear dominance of the Perl language. You can follow him trustfully and relaxed: he will tell you what you need to know, without overloading and confusing you with irrelevant details.
If you are looking for your first (and last) book on Perl, this is the best you can find on the market.
The reviewer may not realize that the author is British. The British generally seem to be more articulate than Americans, so the language reflects that difference.
That aside, this book is a good choice for new Perl programmers, in that it is less "techie", although it still has some real substance to it.
Sadly, the design, typography and layout of the book are average, with confusing diagrams, poor choice of fonts, and some silly iconography.
The result is that this book is a worthwhile front to back read, but as a reference or 'companion' you would be better off with 'Effective Perl Programming'.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a good choice for a reference book. Would be useful only if interested in light reading about a subject that you are already familiar with. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2002
Easy to read, with many useful code examples in every chapter which I could use immedialtely in my work. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 1999
This is the best-written, best-organized introduction to Perl I've read. The author never gets bogged down in the details, but manages to explain (or explain away) many of Perl... Read morePublished on July 9 1998 by Greg Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you want to understand the logic of PERL and start working quickly with practical examples, this is THE book to buy. Read morePublished on April 16 1998 by Eric Leroy
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