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Beginning Perl

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 3.84

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Excellent
Comment: This book by far is the best beginner programming book I have ever read...better than those I read about C++ or JAVA which tend to get too complicated too fast and extremely fussy.

The book is easy to read and follow and does exactly what it intends to deliver - to teach Perl to beginners.

To a seasoned Perl professional, this book is too easy. But to a student trying to learn the language, so far this book is the ONLY ONE available to offer some sort of structured learning experience that I didn't find in "Programming Perl" or any other Perl books out there. The authors did an excellent job at describing the fundamentals of Perl language. The section on installing Active Perl on windows is extremely helpful. No other programming books would bother go into such details or try to be real supportive.

From reading this book, I begin to appreciate the power of Perl and nice folks behind it. This book actually teaches Perl.


A University Student

Customer Rating: 2
Summary: Another exasperating book for newbies
Comment: First of all, let me say that I so much wanted to enjoy and benefit from this book. Regrettably, the author, like so many authors of technical books, plainly does NOT understand his audience. He attempted to combine the objective of teaching programming concepts with the objective of teaching the features and syntax of Perl. In other words he was at once writing a "Beginning Programming Using Perl" book, and "Perl for Programmers of Other Languagues" book. He does a very poor job of accomplishing either goal.

For the record, I am familiar with and understand programming concepts to a reasonable extent. However, I have never worked as a programmer. The author missed me completely! Furthermore, he raised the bar of what I felt I had a right to expect from this book by saying early on that 'Perl is so easy to learn'. Apparently it is easier to learn Perl than it is to teach or write about Perl! I have looked at quite a few Perl books. I don't think there are really any excellent ones out there for a relative newbie. This book is the second one I will be returning for a refund.

If you are new to programming, (and the back cover of the book says that is designed for those new to programming) you may want to carefully consider the wisdom of relying on this book for learning programming concepts - or Perl! Mr Cozens is not thorough enough in his explanations or thoughtful enough in his writing to convey conceptual information in a way that can be readily learned. (Notice I did not say easily learned. That's a different objective entirely.) He never really explains the syntax of the language (which for me is the hardest thing about Perl to get used to). Nor does the author understand the importance of explaining terms and concepts that are specific to Perl. I suspect he expects you to pick them up by studying the examples. For someone like myself who is a verbal-conceptual learner this may prove to be too much to ask. I am not sure what his teaching paradigm was (or if he had one).

As for those who already have experience programming, you may be in a better position to benefit from this book; but I would venture to say, that you could probably do better. Maybe you are experienced and knowledgeable enough to go straight for one of the O'Reilly books? (I didn't feel that I was.)

Finally, the author is way too wordy in his explanations - explanations that don't explain! You are left to pick up concepts, the reason for why he is explaining something, on your own. He just goes straight to the explanations without much coherence or cohesion. Phrasings of several of his sentences are quite awkward. For example, he is fond of using the phrase, "As well as . . ." (meaning in addition to) in ways that jar the thought processes (at least for this reader). This perhaps is a petty criticism, but that kind of shotty writing combined with bad editing and poor execution makes for a miserable experience.

Now, it's back to the store to get my money back!

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: The best book for learning Perl
Comment: This is the best beginner's book for Perl I have touched so far. In comparison to Learning Perl and Programming Perl, Simon Cozens goes step by step and concept by concept with enough in-depth examples. By reading the book, I somehow also got encouraged to modify the examples by myself and see what happens when we change certain lines of code. Indeed "There is more than one way to do it!"