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Elements of Programming with Perl

by jptxs (Curate)
on Oct 12, 2000 at 00:18 UTC ( [id://36308]=bookreview: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Order Elements of Programming with Perl

Item Description: Elements of Programming with Perl is a general introduction to programming, using Perl as the implementation language. It starts at the beginning, teaching programming style, structure, and design. - from

Review Synopsis: This is the first stop for all homework help seekers! Not only is this a thurough Perl book, it's a way to pick up the ABC's of programming in ANY language.

Author: Andrew L. Johnson
Publisher: Manning
ISBN: 1884777805
Buy it at and give the monks a cut : )

This book is a great foundation for anyone who wants to figure out what the heck all these squiggles and equals signs are all about. The book starts with the basics of any language. It goes over how a computer works at the most basic level and how code drives these basic components. It then moves on to how good and bad code can make all the difference in the world to how well your computer and program are going to run.

The switch into Perl is done with ease and the book moves you through a series of classroom style exercises that give you the tools to build on to do more and more complex tasks from chapter to chapter. The book uses an in and out style, giving a lot of detail, some code, and then stepping back to analyze it all and dissect it in great detail.

The author lays down a good Perl foundation as well, making sure to stress the use of use strict; and making sure to mention that there are better ways to do some things, but they have levels of complexity that the book is not ready to get to yet. Very much in the spirit of TMTOWTDI throughout.

I was a web database guy who did some frontend work on the side and used the notorious 'Selena Sol' and 'MSA' scripts about four and half years ago. I switched jobs and left Perl and development entirely for a while, but have been back in it big-time with a project in my new company. Elements of Programming with Perl was just the ticket to get me back into the saddle with both a good developer's mindset and a running start on Perl. An excellent book, and easy to read as well.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Elements of Programming with Perl
by martin (Friar) on Jan 29, 2006 at 17:39 UTC
    Teaching Perl to an audience with little or no programming background is quite an ambitious task. Elements does a surprisingly decent job filling that niche of introductory texts.

    However, I find the coverage of object orientation in the last two chapters plain dreadful. The point of OO is abstraction, separation of different aspects of a problem in order to get reusable components of limited complexity. A textbook should aim to showcase how a carefully designed component is indeed reusable.

    Johnson misses this mark rather spectacularly when he builds a "Queue" class based on a "Stack" class that has of course to be changed in the course of this endeavour (and thus proven not to be reusable).

    I recommend students to switch to Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules after chapter 17. Besides that, I like the book.

Re: Elements of Programming with Perl
by weini (Friar) on Jan 25, 2002 at 17:43 UTC
    I read Elements of Programming with Perl as a complete novice to both programming and perl. It helped me very much to get access to this new world.

    I'd like to add that the book is now available in german - also gibt es keine Entschuldigung mehr, dieses Buch nicht zu lesen ;^)

    "Perl - der Einstieg"
    Verlag Galileo Press
    Kategorie Programmierung
    Seiten 442
    ISBN 3-89842-168-6
    Bestellnummer 76963
    Sprache Deutsch
    Preis 34,90 EUR


      No one's posted here in awhile...of course....*sigh*...but still if you're interested in making the jump into programming and don't know a lick about it then I'd have to recommend this book. Really helped me hurdle some things that I always had difficulty with. A great companion book the the "Llama" that's on the same kind of level.
Re: Elements of Programming with Perl
by Hanamaki (Chaplain) on Sep 06, 2001 at 19:56 UTC
    Additional Information:
    Chapter 1 Introduction and Chapter 10 Regular expressions you will find as pdf files; the TOC, Index, Preface and some additional information as html files on the books homepage.

Re: Elements of Programming with Perl (Still Excellent Over Ten Years Later)
by luis.roca (Deacon) on Feb 25, 2011 at 02:15 UTC

    I just wanted to bring a little attention to an old review of a GREAT book. I don't say that lightly. Elements of Programming with Perl should be recommended to many of our SoPW posters. Meant for two groups: absolute beginners and self taught programmers that need to solidify their fundamentals, Andrew Johnson gives a thorough lesson in the art of specifying a problem and coming up with a well designed solution. After just the first few chapters you already have a solid process for answering your own questions.

    It's a shame this book hasn't gotten a little more attention over the years with an update but I don't think it's age will make your Perl code suffer while your problem solving skills will be all the better for reading it.

    "...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." Don Quixote
A Request for a little history lesson
by arturo (Vicar) on Oct 12, 2000 at 17:14 UTC

    I'm assuming that "MSA" means "Matt's Script Archive" but I'm not familiar with "Selena Sol" ... care to enlighten the unwashed among us?

    Philosophy can be made out of anything -- or less

      the learned ybiC is correct. neither MSA nor Selena Sol was able to provide enlightenment - though I may point out the Selena's code was WAY tighter than MSA's now that i can look back on it. Anyway, stick to the monastery and be thankful to be among the enlightened. : )

      -- I'm a solipsist, and so is everyone else. (think about it)

      I hadn't heard of Selena Sol either, arturo.   But I take the point to be that neither MSA nor SS provide enlightenment, and that both should be shunned by the faithful.

      For what it's worth, I'm just plain lucky.   Missed MSA and SS, finding the Monastery instead when I needed to learn more than rudimentery Perl for logfile processing.   I have a *lot* to learn, thankfully not to un-learn.

      If you really want to see Another Way Not To Do It, is pretty effective.   Ask tilly.   {grin}   (about Google, not about "how not to do it")
          Don   (ybiC)
          striving for Perl Adept

      Update:   "learned ybiC..."
      Thanks for the compliment, jptxs.   8^)   Wish I deserved it.
      $ybiC='grasshopper' while ($lang='Perl');

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