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Sams Teach Yourself CGI in 24 Hours

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List Price: $24.99
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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.57

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: An excellent beginners book!
Comment: I have been learning CGI/PERL/PHP for the past 6 months now. I am currently in an internship and my job is to update the webpage. This book was great! This book helped me a lot. I am definitely still a begginner at CGI and this book taught me a lot of basics. You won't learn how to create professional looking guestbooks or message boards but you will learn the basics of how to create them. This book covers just about everything you need to know to get started.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Very good book, but lacks in one respect
Comment: This book is an excellent and well-balanced treatise on the topic of CGI programming with Perl. However, the book says that it teaches you to program CGI in C as well... not quite. I would not say 9 pages out of 490 is sufficient to state that the book covers CGI programming in C. But since far and away most of the CGI programs on the net are written in Perl, I don't believe it is an extremely important topic.

Another thing to note is that if you do not previously know Perl fairly well, you may have a hard time grasping some of the more difficult examples used, such as complex regular expressions.

Now, the reason I did not give it five stars is this: since I have a fairly extensive knowledge of Perl, I can recognize bad practices on the part of the author. Mainly, as you will immediately notice if you purchase this book with a prior knowledge of Perl, the author places WAY too much emphasis and entire program structure on global variables. This is a practice that should be avoided in ALL languages, not excluding Perl. But, it can easily be taken with a grain of salt (as I have done), or you can rewrite some of the code so that functions actually accept parameters instead of relying on globals.

But, if you are thinking of buying the book, I highly recommend doing so. However, if you do not yet know Perl, I would first read Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours by Clinton Pierce, as it is the best beginners guide to Perl I've seen out there.

By the way, this review applies to the first version of the book.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: I am impressed
Comment: The content of the book impressed me. Prior to reading the book, I had taught myself Perl programming, and had learned the basics of forms processing. I didn't understand some of CGI jargon I came across in more than one Perl book that glossed over CGI in a single chapter somewhere toward the back of the book. But this book on CGI programming gave me all the information I needed to feel like a CGI pro, someone who could keep his cool in any discussion where "CGI" was spoken.

Some of the information in this book is worth writing down, so you can remember the clear understanding that reading the book gave you, and so you can regurgitate that understanding to other people later, say after months of no complex CGI programming. This book offers enough explanation to make you see things from a webmaster's perspective, but also a UNIX programmer's perspective. Without more than a basic idea of how the UNIX command-line works.

I will confess that if you don't know Perl, I don't think you'd have the same reaction I did. But CGI books shouldn't have to teach you Perl, and at the same time, Perl is THE language for CGI programming. The "brief" coverage that this book gives to other CGI languages is not meant to underplay their relative importance, but rather to give Perl the attention that it's due. Also, realize that PHP is not a CGI language, and I wouldn't classify JSP as one, either, so you definitely won't find mention of them in Rafe's book as anything other than alternatives to CGI.

So learn some Perl, say from the new "Beginning Perl" book from OReilly, and then get Rafe's book, to learn CGI. "Teach Yourself CGI in 24 Hours" is worth buying and studying.