Perl: Annotated Archives
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Spotlight Customer ReviewsAverage Customer Rating: 4.2
Customer Rating: 5
Comment: Wait... Although this is a good book, it doesn't mean that it'll teach you perl. It actually doesn't intend to teach you perl from basics. What I really love about this book is, it gives a reader lots of ideas on how to use perl efficiently.
Those who are hoocked on CGI can also buy this book. After buying the book you can either 1)read through it and have new ideas on how you could write perl programs efficiently or 2) just grab the ready-to-use programs from the CD and run'em. I agree, this is not the only book that provides you with ready-to-use programs. I also wrote a review to CGI/Perl Cookbook, which got my just one star. Difference between these two titles is that, CGI/Perl Cookbook is pretty far from giving you tips and doesn't go through their ready-to-use programs in details. As to Perl:Annotated Archives, it does a good job on explaining the programs. Also the programs included in the book are intended to handle some very frequent tasks, like checking HTML validity, Managing your news pages, CGI security (for details look at the table of contents in the left menu).
If you are beginner and want to learn perl and to be able to write your own programs and modules, I do not recommend you this title. Don't buy it. Go for either CGI101(highly recommend it) or Elizabeth Castro's Quick Start guide.
In overall, this is a good book, which provides you with lots of usefull ideas and programs as well.
Customer Rating: 2
Summary: Nice idea; poor execution
Comment: Although I've used Perl for a while, I like collections like this. I started reading this book and was immediately thrown off by at least one coding/logic error in the encrypt/decrypt programs (which are among the first scripts in the first chapter). The fact that these are annotated multiplies the error, because a newbie is more likely to be misled by the clear explanation of something that is false. This left a bad taste in my mouth, so I've been leery of using the book much since (it's the last one that I consult). Finally, I don't like the author's Perl style. Yes, "there's more than one way to do things," but the style is (IMHO) somewhat non-Perlish and may lead to people missing out on the Perl Philosophy.
I recommend the Perl Cookbook instead for recipes, and the Programming Perl book for examples/tutorials.
Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Martin++ !
Comment: There's something wonderful about a book that doesn't sit on a shelf for any period of time. It becomes dog-eared from use and its layout and content becomes familiar. Martin Brown's Perl and Python Annotated Archives are two such books in my personal collection. I find myself constantly switching between computer languages and with books like these, it's a snap to become productive very quickly. Other reviews here have covered the fine examples in the AA books but what struck me the most was that Martin doesn't overly rely on modules from CPAN to illustrate his point. Some have likened CPAN's contents to being 'software integrated circuits' -- something you just plug and and use. This is great for people who don't care about the details and have a but if you want to learn how things really work, this book's example code is where it's at. Of course he's no dummy and liberally uses things like Getopt in the right amounts.
If you build Web solutions and only have time to absorb one chapter, read and understand the CGI security chapter. My personal favorite has to be either the entries on databases or the cross platform systems administration section. Too many Perl books concentrate on Unix and don't acknowledge other OSes. I think 'macfbf.pl' might be the first code example for the Macintosh I've seen in a Perl book!
There's a lot for Perl newbies and old dogs to learn from this book and it's well worth the effort to glean something from every chapter.
Martin is one of the most interactive authors I've ever dealt with and always responds to emailed suggestions, questions and constructive criticism with a professional yet friendly tone. He's been quick to point out the very rare typographic mistakes and updates his Web site's errata section quickly. That alone makes his books worth having!