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Perl 5 Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition
by Johan Vromans
O'Reilly and Associates, 2000

Capsule Review

Excellent book. 5 stars out of 5.

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Full Review

I got the Perl 5 Pocket Reference as a gift from the Perl Conference 3.0, and it's been within arm's reach at all times since. It's an invaluable reference for those who find themselves searching through perldocs or Programming Perl for tidbits on a daily basis.

Johan Vromans cuts stacks and stacks of Perl documentation down to the most essential at-your-fingertips facts. The book is organized like a series of appendices, covering subjects like command-line options, pragmatic modules, special variables, and regular expressions. That last one is the most dog-eared and thumbed through section of my copy; it boils the sometimes-cryptic regular expression bestiary down to the essentials and is worth list price all by itself.

You won't learn Perl from this book. It doesn't take the place of bibles like Programming Perl or Learning Perl, but you'll certainly want to keep it handy if you're an absent-minded programmer like me. I use it when I can't remember the argument order for push or the formatting codes for sprintf, or even if I want to thumb through a list of the standard modules to jog my memory when working on a problem.

The 3rd edition has been published recently in order to cover Perl 5.6, so make sure you get the latest edition. I know I will...