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Perl 5 By Example

Review by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

***   Perl 5 By Example  (actually the copy from David Medinets Web site is better as it contains corrections. Right now web site is down, but mirrors still can be found on the web )
David Medinets./ Que's October 1996/658 pages/CD-ROM/ISBN: 0789708663
Paperback - 658 pages Bk&Cd-Rom edition (October 1996)
Que Corp; ISBN: 0789708663 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.74 x 9.04 x 7.37 Sales Rank: 55,495
Avg. Customer Review: ****+
Currently it's probably the secondary choice among the open introductory books on Perl. I do not recommend it as an introductory book. David Till's  book(see above) is a better introductory book and I realized it hard way -- by teaching the class using Perl5 by Example.  Should not be used in the university environment but probably can be OK for self-study, especially if one have some experience with other languages. As an introductory book it's pretty weak -- the author uses too much obscure Perl idioms and many examples are weak and poorly thought out. In case you decided to use it, the book probably should be used only as a reference with Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days  as a primary text. The main advantage of the book is that the full text is available both on the CD-ROM and online from the Web(for example here  Perl 5 by Example -- try to search Yahoo! for the mirror nearest to you; ). See also the author interview
David Medinets "... has been programming since 1980, when he starting with a Radio Shack Model 1.". He has written also Visual Basic Script Quick Reference, and HTML Quick Reference, 2nd Edition for Que and also co-authored books on such topics as Lotus Notes, C++, Visual Basic, and Microsoft Office. In past he used REXX that probably is an advantage for any Perl programmer/writer as REXX (although a weaker scripting language)  has some features that are difficult to program in Perl. This seems to be his first scripting language book. He is also a co-author of Using Lotus Notes 4 (1996).
The book is conveniently structured into four parts:
Part I: Basic Perl
Part II: Intermediate Perl
Part III: Advanced Perl
Part IV: Perl and the Internet
There are also 5 appendixes:
A - Review Questions
B - Glossary
C - Function List
D - The Windows Registry
E - What's On the CD?
Strangely enough most of readers reviews in the website are quite positive. Here is one example: from Utah , January 30, 1999 ******
The Best Perl Book I've studied
Perl 5 by example is the best Perl book I've studied. I use the Perl 5 book along with the 'CGI For Windows' book to teach an internet/multimedia class, at an University level. 'Perl 5 by example' has an excellent teaching format: Definition, explanation, and hundreds of sample code fragments, to illustrate the point. 'Perl 5 by example' combines beginning concepts, intermediate, and advance Perl programming practices. One of the most valuable sections in 'Perl 5 by example' is the creating reports section. The second most valuable section is the regular expression explanation. I keep the 'Perl 5 by example' book close as a valuable language reference. Database is also a key interest for me. Combining Perl with Sybase and using the reporting capability helps students start learning how to create enterprise wide solutions. Write to me for details on some of the Perl projects that were created using the book. Upon studying this book and reader should have the knowledge to write numerous cgi scripts, create Perl modules, and understand at an intermediate level the Perl language.



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