Root_007 has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I know that I am new in this type of programming so I dont want to get slain and I would like to ask some of the fellow monks what is the best way to start to learn this language. I have some programming experience in visual basic and a little in c++. I want to learn this language for a project on the net that requires it.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: The Best Way
by BrowserUk (Patriarch) on Oct 17, 2002 at 01:15 UTC

    You could do worse than to click the link at the top of the screen Tutorials in there you will find another link Tutorials#perlstart.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Cor! Like yer ring! ... HALO dammit! ... 'Ave it yer way! Hal-lo, Mister la-de-da. ... Like yer ring!
Re: The Best Way to learn Perl?
by ajt (Prior) on Oct 17, 2002 at 08:34 UTC
Re: The Best Way
by Popcorn Dave (Abbot) on Oct 17, 2002 at 03:22 UTC
    If you plan on doing a lot of Perl programming, I'd recommend picking the camel book for sure. Also, there's a few more books I'd have on my bookshelf.

    • Perl Debugged - Nice easy to follow text on things to watch out for
    • Effective Perl Programming - for when you're feet are a bit more wet. It's also an excelllent debugging reference
    • Perl Black Book - unfortunately it's currently out of print but I picked up a couple more copies on
    • The Perl Cookbook - similar to the black book and again an excellent reference for "recipies" in Perl

    And the one other thing I would be lost without is the Perl TK Debugger. It's a GUI debugger that works on Linux or windows, it's free and you can get a copy here.

    Hopefully that will give you some help!

    There is no emoticon for what I'm feeling now.

Re: The Best Way to learn Perl?
by George_Sherston (Vicar) on Oct 17, 2002 at 09:29 UTC
    My only expertise is in the mistakes one makes along the path to righteousness :S

    If I could send myself of two years ago one message it would be use Modules;. I resisted this for ages, which was mad. (A) The effort of learning how to use CPAN and its contents is *tiny* compared to the effort one saves by letting the Great Ones who compose these modules do one's work for one. (B) One actually learns a lot through learning to work with good modules.

    Starting out it's easy to fall into the trap of "hell, I'll write that myself, I haven't got time to figure out this CPAN business". Let me assure you, if you have this thought, it's almost certainly a mistake, even when, on mature consideration you think in *this* case it's not.

    George Sherston
      Yep. Once you are even vaguely familiar with using modules, figuring out another one will be a breeze. Even if you still insist on coding things yourself, you can learn tons from reading CPAN module sources. There's a multitude of reasons in favour and not really against perusing CPAN.

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: The Best Way
by Enlil (Parson) on Oct 17, 2002 at 01:09 UTC

      Start with Learning Perl. What are you trying to do? Scare them off before they get anywhere?

      The Camel is terrible as a first Perl book, but great as a reference.


      cLive ;-)

        I don't think the Camel is a bad first choice provided you already have grounding in another programming language. The Camel is a great reference and serious programmers will probably wind up buying it (and others) anyway. If Perl was your first programming language then I could see your point.

        I'd recommend The Perl Cd Bookshelf, Version 3.0, if you can afford it. You get Programming Perl, Learning Perl, Perl Cookbook and 4 other books as well. If you can't spring the $80 USD though, you can pick up older, used versions for as little as $13 USD from the bookseller whose name should not be spoken. You'd spend almost that much ($80 USD) if you bought any two of the three books mentioned separately.

        Also, the Cookbook provides great examples/explanations for common programming tasks.


Re: (nrd) The Best Way
by newrisedesigns (Curate) on Oct 17, 2002 at 02:01 UTC
Re: The Best Way to learn Perl?
by nothingmuch (Priest) on Oct 17, 2002 at 07:14 UTC
    I recall a wonderful and very easy going tutorial: What I reccomend is to go through the tutorial's first sections, and then abandon it in favor of more in depth references, like the various books mentioned above...
    I didn't have money for books though, but now having acquired a few I realize how much I needed them.

    zz zZ Z Z #!perl
Re: The Best Way to learn Perl?
by mjeaton (Hermit) on Oct 17, 2002 at 13:30 UTC
    It is my belief that the best way to learn any new programming language (or anything new for that matter) is to play...write code, write some more code and then when you've done that, write some more code.

    I was originally intimidated by all the {}'s and the regex's and the $'s, but when I was learning, I simply had to think about how I would do something in another language (Delphi or VB are the tools I was using at the time) and then implement it in Perl. After a few weeks of this, I was able to start "thinking" in Perl. I was also lucky to have a really good mentor for Perl, but you have Perlmonks, so I think you're set in that aspect.

    But to reinforce what others have said, I learned from The Camel and that's probably what I would suggest as well.