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The best way to start learning Perl?

by NAstyed (Chaplain)
on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:09 UTC ( [id://131070]=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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

Hi, i hope you take some time and please give me some advice and the best way on how to star learning the basics of perl, it would help me a lot, because im totally new on this! Thanks a lot for your patience. Greetings from Costa Rica!

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(Ovid) Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:22 UTC
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by mortis (Pilgrim) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:16 UTC
    If you can, try the O'Reilly Book "Learning Perl". Otherwise, the Tutorials node on this site should be a good start.
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by sparkyichi (Deacon) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:20 UTC
    First thin that I think you should do is install Perl. Next get one of the O'reilly books on Learning Perl or Learning Perl on Win32 Systems. This will get you started. Ask lots of questions and play with it a lot. The more you practice this better you will become. Also by playing with Perl will keep you interested.

Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:28 UTC

    It partly depends on the resources available to you. If you have a computer, or reasonable access to one, Perl comes with extensive documentation. The Library section of the monastery here has copies of them, and you can find newer (and older!) versions at

    If you can obtain them, there are many, many books on Perl as well. A reasonably good set is represented in Buy Stuff. (The monastery also benefits if you buy through those links.) The usefulness of a book depends very much on your own likes and dislikes, however, so if you can, spend some time in a bookstore browsing.

    Good luck. You have a fun journey ahead of you!

Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by dws (Chancellor) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:36 UTC
    If you're going to be using Perl for CGIs, I recommend (once you have the basics under your belt) that you read the articles that Randal Schwartz (merlyn, here) wrote for Web Techniques magazine. Each one picks a problem, solves it, and provides a line-by-line code walkthrough. A careful study of these articles helped me up the learning curve when I was starting out.

    merlyn's articles can be found here. I recommend having a copy of the "Camel" book within reach.

Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by Gerard (Pilgrim) on Dec 12, 2001 at 02:26 UTC
    I agree with mortis. I took me a while to find this site, and I am of course still learning new things each day. Once I discovered this site, it was all on, and I have learnt a lot just by hanging out and reading. Personally, when I started I used . Although they use some practices that may not be recommended by some of the monks here, (namely the require of rather than the use of found their basic explanation of perl and cgi fantastic when I was completely new too this.
    Good luck.
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by RayRay459 (Pilgrim) on Dec 12, 2001 at 03:39 UTC
    I got started by reading the llama book, "Learning Perl" by o'reilly . thats an awesome book. it goes at a good pace, teaching you a new concept and then practicing with it and then quizing you on it. and putting it into use. Once you learn basics, just write and write and write...the more i script the better i get. Good luck.
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by NAstyed (Chaplain) on Dec 12, 2001 at 03:36 UTC
    Thanks a lot for all the help, i'm one of those tired .asp programmers that are really wanting to start a new knowledge, and i've found and heard many good thing about Perl, one more thing is that this site IS a very usefull, 8 replys in less than 3 hours, means Perl programmers are very united, Thanks a lot for your help, i think Perl without people like you would'nt be the same. Ok, let's start those tutorials! See you later!
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by strat (Canon) on Dec 12, 2001 at 17:17 UTC
    For me, it is difficult to find an answer, because I don't know what you know about computers and programming in common.

    In my eyes, the O-Reilly-Book Learning Perl is rather good, but if you are an experianced Unix-Administrator and C-Programmer, you could perhaps start over with Programming Perl immediately.

    Maybe a look at Robert's Perl Tutorial might help you anyway. You can find it at:
    It covers the basics in a good way.

    Best regards,
    perl -e "print a|r,p|d=>b|p=>chr 3**2 .7=>t and t"

Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by benlaw (Scribe) on Dec 12, 2001 at 17:27 UTC
    hi , i am also the the beginner of perl, I most suggest you to use oreilly Learning Perl plus some online doc my school use these two materials as lecture notes there are very useful for learning perl, and my addtional suggestion is for some scripting , plus Enjoy Perl ^^" ~
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by ralphie (Friar) on Dec 12, 2001 at 18:48 UTC
    i can't believe it got all the way down to here before someone mentioned this <grin>. the perl cookbook from o'reilly is great to have on hand when you are starting to put something together and unsure of what it might look like in actual implementation, as well as being a handy source of tried and true recipes for frequent tasks.
Re: The best way to start learning Perl?
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 12, 2001 at 03:57 UTC

      I'm still fairly new to Perl myself.  This is what I'm doing and using:  I'm working through and reworking through merlyn's book Learning Perl (O'Reilly) -- it amazes me how much I missed the first time I read through it, so I'm rereading it.  I also have a copy of O'Reilly's Perl in a Nutshell book for reference and elaboration.  In addition to reading some of the questions and answers posed in the "Seekers of Perl Wisdom" section of this web site, I'm going through every page, every link of the on-line "Tutorials" section of this site.

      Let me elaborate further on that and on my reworking of Learning Perl:  each page of the tutorial has explanations and examples of Perl commands.  Also, each primary page has links to other pages describing more command.  For each command, I have been creating a basic, simple perl program to see if I can get the command to work.  As part of this, I have several print statements that print out the results of variables as they are effected by each command.

      I am now doing the same thing with Learning Perl book.  I started doing this because after the first read I realized that when I tried to use what I read at work, I fell on my face.  It wasn't until I tried to create something for testing (while not under pressure at work) that I was able to really learn the commands.

      The result of all this study and practice is that I think I've just about left the "Newbie" category and have moved into the "Beginner" category.  Also, I've begun to be able to dependably use Perl for my job.

      While developing each of these test scripts, incidentally, I make sure that I don't skip anything like documentation, indentation and other layout aspects.  I find this to be good practice for good code writing.  I also add the warning flag to my first line of each program:

      #!/usr/bin/perl -w

      Also, I add the line near the top to have Perl be tough on me:

      use strict;

      If you're not good a coming up with your own test program ideas, the Learning Perl book does have exercises at the back of each chapter with answers in the appendix. But, for me, I like to come up with my own ideas and go off on tangents.

      Good luck to you NAstyed and be sure to visit this site regularly.

        Since I'm about as new to Perl as anyone here, I HIGHLY recommend Learning Perl. Before I bought this book I read a few online tutorials (perlmonks' being one of them) and they all seemed a little over my head, however Learning Perl is a great way to get started.

        He called me Greenhorn and I called him Tony Randall.

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