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Perl Developer's Guide

****  Perl Developer's Guide
Ed Peschko (Editor), Michele Dewolfe,
Amazon price: $47.99
Paperback - 912 pages (June 8, 2000)
Osborne McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0072126302
New edition of old book.  Some Perl 5.6 elements are covered (return of an array in subroutines, etc.).

The first edition was called Perl 5 Complete. I wrote the first review about the first edition of the book on I also used it in one introductory e-commerce class. As usual, you love a textbook much less after you use it a class -- errors and omissions became more evident :-(.  Still, most my students were able to grasp details of the language from the book, but now the book looks a little bit watery -- each chapter can be compressed into half without losing any useful content. So the number of pages can probably reduced in half. Also examples in the first edition are not that great and somewhat buggy.

All-in-all the second edition is a good intro Perl 5 book with some well thought examples and multi-OS coverage. 
Chapter 9 on regular expressions is not bad and many readers on Amazon like it. I was not impressed, but still I agree that it's OK, especially for novices.
Last seven chapters actually constitute a good intermediate book. They contain detailed treatment (with good examples) of interesting topics like PerlTk, interfacing Perl to Win32 applications, databases and more.
Attention: CGI coverage is very weak. File operations are much better covered in other books.
Even with problems mentioned above it is probably one of the best introductory Perl book. It is more suitable for those who have some programming experience in other language.

For people without programming experience no book can probably help ;-),  but Jon Orwant's book might to be an alternative. The main problem with it is that it overstresses regular expression (at least more than I like in the beginner-oriented book). If you have some experience with other high level languages this book is a  reasonable choice, although nothing is perfect in this world ;-)

Here is a very good Amazon Review: 

5 out of 5 stars A much better second edition , July 20, 2000
Reviewer: Andrew Fernandez (see more about me) from Boulder, Colorado USA

This book is the much needed update to the first book by Ed and Michelle, published in 1998 that went by a different name, "Perl 5, Complete". The first book came out way too early with too many errors. Ed acknowledges this in his preface to the second edition. I enjoyed his first book, because catching errors made me learn the material better, but the second edition is soo much better.
High points for this second edition include:
1) a good tutorial for object-oriented programming starting with creating modules up to full object-oriented programming with perl/tk.
2) a great section on data-structures like arrays-of-arrars, and hash or hashes, etc... that are essential if you want to do intermediate or above Perl programming.
3) A great chapter on real-world examples using perl/tk and OLE programing with Perl for Microsoft Windows plus other code samples.
4) Some great new appendixes for Perl "grammer and structure" that weren't in the first edition. Basically a concise reference for symantics that would benefit anybody.
5) A much improved index that was practically non-existent in the first edition.
All in all, I would say the second edition would be a good edition to learning and even improving your Perl skills since it is a huge tome of Perl information that can be both used as a reference and as a tutorial.



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