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Perl Monk, Perl Meditation

On the matter of Books

by She-wolf (Sexton)
on Aug 16, 2000 at 21:28 UTC ( [id://28151]=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Relatively new as I am to Perl, I was wondering:
Before a novice and true newbies start on their journey to Perl Mastery, they must choose the right tools to help them on their journey.
This of course means CPAN,,.net,.org, and various other on-line sources. And of course it makes things easier when you have a guide to help you over all those pitfalls.
But there is also the matter of books. Good old finger walking, dust collecting, pinnacles of the paper age. And so there is the question of which books are better.

I've heard good things about the O'Reilly book "Programming Perl" and of course "Perl for Dummies" but was wondering which books the true Perl disciple finds or found most useful in their journey. In short, show me the way to enlightenment and inner perl
Arigatou gozaimasu

"Wha? I don't get it."

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: On the matter of Books
by le (Friar) on Aug 16, 2000 at 21:36 UTC
    You should take a look at these books. They're all published by O'Reilly, and that's good. (No, I'm not endorsing them, but I think their books are good.)
    • Learning Perl, aka "The Llama book", definitely the first book for beginners. One of the authors is merlyn.
    • Programming Perl, aka "The Camel Book" or "The Bible". You need this.
    • Perl Cookbook, aka "The Ram book". Lots of small code snippets useful everywhere.
    • Perl In A Nutshell, aka "The Camel Head book". Get this if you need a handy, but complete reference.
    There are many others, but these are best for beginners. (And you need enough time to read through them :) ).

      I started learning Perl in February, and after some web browsing chose to buy almost those exact books.I actually used the Win32 version of Learning Perl (Gecko) instead of the Llama. And I got the Perl CD Bookshelf instead of just Nutshell

      Learning Perl (for Win32) is amazing, by far one of the best tutorial books I've read. Definitely a must read.

      The others have been useful, and I recommend them. I also suggest that you consider getting the CD-ROM version of Nutshell.

      In order of usefulness:

      1. Learning Perl: I used this a bunch at first and occasionally for reference.
      2. Perl In A Nutshell (and CD-ROM): I use this almost every day that I write code.
      3. Perl Cookbook: A great sourcebook, can be a huge timesaver
      4. Programming Perl: I use this one to puzzle out arcana that aren't discoverable by other means.
      Good luck finding the time!

RE: On the matter of Books
by BlueLines (Hermit) on Aug 16, 2000 at 22:17 UTC
    You should also (in addition to books already suggested) check out Mastering Regular Expressions. Regex's are usually perl's most valuable feature to me, and most of the initial perl coding i did was for basic text processing. This book isn't totally perl-centric, but it makes the subject easier to understand.


    Disclaimer: This post may contain inaccurate information, be habit forming, cause atomic warfare between peaceful countries, speed up male pattern baldness, interfere with your cable reception, exile you from certain third world countries, ruin your marriage, and generally spoil your day. No batteries included, no strings attached, your mileage may vary.
RE: On the matter of Books
by Cirollo (Friar) on Aug 16, 2000 at 22:03 UTC
    I would give serious thought to ordering The Perl CD Bookshelf from O'Reilly.

    The CD has the complete texts of Perl in a Nutshell, Programming Perl 2nd Edition, Perl Cookbook, Advanced Perl Programming, Learning Perl and Learning Perl on Win32 Sytems. I love it because I can search for whatever I need from the books anytime (they're nicely formatted in HTML), and there is even an master index of all 6 books. Yum.

    Plus, the hardcopy version of Perl in a Nutshell is included, all for only $59.95 </car salesman voice>

    Of course, sometimes a hardcopy is nicer, but I really like the online format.

Perl Monk's book reviews
by BigJoe (Curate) on Aug 16, 2000 at 22:11 UTC
    Check out the Reviews section of Perlmonks. This may also help figure out which supplimentary books you should get also.


    Learn patience, you must.
    Young PerlMonk, craves Not these things.
    Use the source Luke.
Buzzcutbuddha (Steer clear of Dummies Books) - RE: On the matter of Books
by buzzcutbuddha (Chaplain) on Aug 17, 2000 at 00:23 UTC
    My experience with Dummies books has always always always been poor. They don't seem to go into enough detail to give you the answers you seek.

    If you are serious about programming, go with O'Reilly or Wrox, who have, by far, the best books out there.
RE: On the matter of Books
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 17, 2000 at 02:16 UTC
      That page seems rather... empty. What's supposed to be there?

      Update stupid browser had lost its fonts... Page works better now.

      While the Camel Critiques are interesting, they seem a bit dated. It reviews Camel II, but Camel III is out. Many of the books it reviews teach Perl4, yet Perl5 has been out for years and Perl5.6 is different enough that a new Camel had to be written for it. It doesn't mention Conway's book, yet many have rated it as highly as any of the others listed, etc.

      I would love for Tom to update that page with newer books.

RE: On the matter of Books
by ivory (Pilgrim) on Aug 17, 2000 at 10:32 UTC
    I know that a lot of people swear by the O'Reilly books, and I like them too, but I also really liked "Elements of Programming with Perl". It's really easy to read, and there are exercises for each chapter.



      It's a really good book. It teaches programming using Perl as its language of choice. The drawback is that once you get through it, it's not much of a reference. It is most certainly geared for the beginner programmer, although, I have to admit, it has some nuggets in there for an old miner, too. I think of all the books I've bought on Perl (And I think I should own a bit of O'reilly) So far the book I've enjoyed the most has been Object Oriented Perl. It's not really a beginner's book though. The Programming Perl Book is more of a reference manual than a tutorial. For an introduction to the language, Elements of Programming is probably the best of the beginners books I've looked at. (I won't look at the dummies books. I find their titles insulting... absolutely a marketing ploy).

RE: On the matter of Books
by gumpu (Friar) on Aug 16, 2000 at 21:52 UTC

    At work we use Programming Perl and the Perl Cookbook. The cookbook has loads of good examples. Especially the sections on arrays and hashes will get you started quickly. Programming Perl is good to get all the details and the ideas behind the language. What also helped a lot are the The Perl FAQ/ Man pages... especially if you have a program that allows you to browse them easily (TkMan for instance).

    Have fun, Frans.

RE: On the matter of Books
by davorg (Chancellor) on Aug 17, 2000 at 11:59 UTC
RE: On the matter of Books
by MadraghRua (Vicar) on Aug 17, 2000 at 03:26 UTC
    Programming Perl is a definite improvement over Learning Perl - Learning Perl went a little too fast for me.

    Perl Cookbook definitely cleared up lingering confusion.

    Other suggestions:
    MacPerl: Power and Ease, V. Brown and C. Nandor
    Learning Perl on Win 32 Systems, R. Schwartz, E. Olson, T. Christiansen
    The Perl Journal - My subscription to this is repaid many times over.
    Getting and looking at other folk's code, no matter how bad - its invaluable.
    The dummies books are will'o the wisps on the path to enlightenment.

    yet another biologist hacking perl....

RE: On the matter of Books
by kael (Monk) on Aug 17, 2000 at 03:40 UTC
    Learning Perl is great while your learning specially the first chapter. Programming Perl isn't as good for reading cover to cover, but if you want to look up just what something is doing. there ya go.
    Perl Cookbook is the most useful book I've found so far, everytime you say hey, how do I do this? ::flips through pages:: OH! That's how I do that But you need some understanding of Perl in general first.
    Of course the best way to learn is to make programs, make programs that you don't know exactly how to do and you can learn alot.
RE: On the matter of Books
by delegatrix (Scribe) on Aug 17, 2000 at 18:11 UTC
    I find myself turning more to the Perl Cookbook lately. It is very useful and detailed. I also like Manning's Element's of Programming with Perl. I recommend it to new programmers.
RE: On the matter of Books
by randomblue (Beadle) on Aug 18, 2000 at 23:14 UTC
    If systems admin is your flavour of Frutopia, then take a look at "Perl for System Administration" from O'Reilly Press (the sea otter book :). It was just published in July 2000, but I wish I had it earlier.

    It contains oodles of very handy sample scripts for topics like log monitoring, network monitoring, database management, LDAP directory services and other handy sysadmin stuff.

    But if you're looking for a general language reference, then the Camel Book (Programming Perl) is probably your best choice. I wish it were a bit more in-depth on some topics (like IPC), but then it would wind up really really huge. In any case, my well-thumbed, sticky-note-annotated copy never leaves my arm's-reach at work -- it's really worth your money.

RE: On the matter of Books
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 22, 2000 at 05:54 UTC
    Without a doubt, the first book on your road to enlightenment is 'Learning Perl' by Scwartz and Christiansen (O'Reilly). As a perl novice I've found it to be inspirational and practical. The next book I bought was the 'Perl Cookbook' by Christiansen adn Torkington (O'Reilly), which contains many many useful programs. Have fun and be wise !
RE: On the matter of Books
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 22, 2000 at 08:41 UTC
    Both "Learning Perl" and "Programming Perl" have been very useful references for me (my only references). Both are, of course, O'Reilly Books...
RE: On the matter of Books
by d4vis (Chaplain) on Aug 18, 2000 at 20:54 UTC
    Slightly off-topic perhaps, but being an utter PerlNewbie myself, I found that Online tutorials were an effective way to grok the basics of Perl. I'm reading the gecko book (which is great) now, but I'm really glad that I worked through Robert's Perl Tutorial first. The thing about Online tutorials is that you're already at your computer, so you can work through the examples as you go. A slightly unwieldy process if you're trying to balance a laptop and a book in the same lap.
    d4vis #!/usr/bin/fnord
RE: On the matter of Books
by delegatrix (Scribe) on Aug 17, 2000 at 18:11 UTC
    I find myself turning more to the Perl Cookbook lately. It is very useful and detailed. I also like Manning's Element's of Programming with Perl. I recommend it to new programmers.
RE: On the matter of Books
by coreolyn (Parson) on Aug 18, 2000 at 19:30 UTC

    I think the previous posts give a good run down on the O'Rielly books, but there are 2 books not mentioned that you may want to consider.

    Even though you may not be interested in Object Oriented perl, I didn't realize how much 'essential perl' I was lacking until I went through Damien Conways Object Oriented perl. (Published by Manning IBSN 1-884777-79-1). If you can't afford to add it to your collection I still think snagging the book at a Barnes and Nobles and reading the second chapter would be very enlightenning for a beginner. Not that I'd ever do such a thing :)

    The other book that I'm finding is becomming the most dog eared and quickest reference book is Perl Core Language (Little Black Book Series) from Corolis Press. (ISBN 1-57610-426-5). There's nothing in it that's not covered by the O'Rielly books but it's better organized for those 'quick refreshers' IMHO.

    coreolyn Duct tape devotee.
    -- That's OO perl, NOT uh oh perl!-)

RE: On the matter of Books
by TStanley (Canon) on Aug 18, 2000 at 21:15 UTC
    I have found that the book Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days
    is quite useful, as far as teaching just the essential basics
    of the language. From there, you would need other books, and
    at that point, I would recommend the Camel book.

    There can be only one!

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