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The Cgi/Perl Cookbook

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 3.22

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: A terrific resource for Web developers
Comment: I almost didn't buy this book after reading some of the negative reviews, but decided to take a look at it after noticing that none of the negative reviews went into much detail...making me wonder if the reviews were accurate or just the result of some kind of grudge against Mr. Patchett or Mr. Wright. I'm glad I took the time to look at, and subsequently buy, the book.

With a few exceptions, I think most of the other reviews for this book do a good job of pointing out its imperfections. There are some inevitable bugs (corrected at the book's Web site), I wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't have any interest in learning at least a little bit about Perl, and it could use some additional detail on the installation process for the scripts in some places.

That's the bad news. The good news, on the other hand, is that it is an invaluable resource for learning CGI scripting with Perl, especially for anyone who, like me, likes to learn by looking at actual code and having someone explain it. I've already used several of the scripts as is, modified one other, and borrowed code from several places to start building a custom script of my own. I think I got my $40 worth the first day I had it!

Having spent some time with the book, I feel that somebody should address some of the issues brought up in some of the other "hit and run" reviews posted here. While it's true that the scripts are written in Perl 4 (which is backwards compatible with Perl 4), the authors have pointed out that this was a conscious choice on their part because Perl 4 is easier for the beginner to learn. I agree. As for the comments about security issues, I am familiar with the problems that were inherent with Mr. Wright's older scripts and these problems, as far as I can see, do not exist in the scripts presented in the book. Either Mr. Wright has learned from his previous mistakes or Mr. Patchett had a hand in removing security holes. Searching through the archives for the book's mailing list, I only came across one reported security problem in the last two years of posts to the list and a solution to that problem was promptly posted by the authors.

One last thing that I really like about this book is the support for it that the authors provided by setting up a private mailing list for book owners. Not only do members of the list help each other out with any questions about the book's scripts (whether simple or complex), but there are also some great discussions on enhancing the scripts and adding additional features to them. How often have you bought a book and been stranded without any support? That the book's mailing list is going strong two years after the book's release is a testimony to its value.

In short, I feel that this book makes a great addition to any Web developer's library, and is particularly useful to anyone developing CGI scripts of their own.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Be prepared for a Do It Yourself Experience...
Comment: I purchased this book in 1999 with the intention of developing my CGI skills and implement CGI programs in my website projects. The book does provide 20 usefull CGI scripts that one can fool around with, since there is a line by line explanation of all the scripts, I could figure out what makes it tick without having to actually learn perl.

On the Good Side:
1. Explanation of the scripts, line by line.
2. 20 Ready to use sripts and a few subroutines.
3. HTML Templates for using the scripts.
4. A website with updates and a forum.

On the Not so Good Side:
1. All the scripts are quite rudimentary, very basic operations.
2. You need to know how to configure the script to work in the server. This is where you will spend most of your time, yet little documentation on this subject is provided.
3. The website referred by the book is never updated.

Overall, I think it is a good book for someone who wants to jump into CGI for the first time, is tenacious, and is ready to invest a good amount of hours figuring things out on his own.

Customer Rating: 1
Summary: There are errors and other complexities involved.
Comment: The programs are not really "ready-to-run." They are not "Ready-to-use." Programming is required, because there are bugs in html documents and scripts that must be corrected. The book is a good resource of information for people who want to study and learn and troubleshoot and learn Perl, because it is possible to get the scripts to work if the troubleshooter does not give up until they get things to work satisfactorily. I believe that it is practically impossible for a person to use these scripts without having some experience with Perl and CGI and HTML. The book has a lot of good explanations of code, which I find helpful and useful. I can't blame anyone for selling the book in the way it is sold. Salesmen sell the book. Programmers who successfully learn, don't give up when things don't work easily. This is book for beginning programmers.