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Elements of Programming With Perl

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.25

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: THE book to start path to Perl enlightenment
Comment: I tried "Learning Perl" by Randal Schwarz and got bored after about 5 chapters ; too many cutesy references to 60's cartoons and not enough relevant info. So I turned to this book and finally started learning Perl. The author doesn't assume you have any programming experience at all ; hence the title. A person who has never programmed before could probably get through this book( but not without some effort) but they will be well rewarded.What is really excellent is that the author has a home page where you can post questions, concerns, whatever and he will respond within 24 hours (almost always) with clear, concise answers. For others who come from other languages and need to learn Perl quickly, this is an excellent tutorial and they will be up to speed in no time. I had to learn Perl quickly for a project I was on at work - within 2 weeks after starting this book I was well on the way to writing scripts using regular expressions.
This book should be thought of as an initial stepping stone on the path to Perl knowledge , so its not as encyclopedic as say the famous Camel book(Programming Perl). After going through this book, doing the exercises, reading and posting on the authors website, you will be very well prepared for more advanced topics in Perl. After this book, I picked up "Object Oriented Perl" by Damian Conway (from same publishing company) and I had no problem at all thanks to the fine intro this book provided me.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: The Best Introductory Book on the Market
Comment: 'Elements of Programming with Perl' by Andrew Johnson is simply the best introductory Perl book on the market. It is patient in pace and rich in content. Concepts are introduced and explained in error free code. Diagrams are effectively utilized to reinforce understanding.

Having read Larry Wall's 'Programming Perl' and Tom Christiansen's 'Learning Perl' I was already acquainted with the basic constructs of the language. However as Perl is my first programming language I lacked the skills necessary to write effective reusable programs. 'Elements of Programming with Perl' early on presented the process of program design, and reinforced good design practice through well-organized code examples presented throughout all of the topical chapters.

Each chapter builds on & reinforces topics presented in previous chapters. I often found myself reading about a function I had been introduced to elsewhere, and upon following the book's example code finally discovering it's practical potency. As an example, prior to reading this book I had been capable of sorting lists of hostnames by domain only by inefficiently using a regular expression to copy the domain & pre-pend it to the beginning of the hostname. Then using the default 'sort' function followed by a loop to discard the pre-pended domain. Now I can tailor the sort function to serve my needs efficiently replacing that tangle of code with just three lines.

The book is well written with few wasted words and unlike most other authors this one understands & makes an effort to teach users of Active State Perl on Windows platforms as well as those using MacPerl. There are no sections or examples exclusive to Unix.

It is refreshing to work through and use examples that are not devoted to system administrative tasks. The chapter on module use demonstrates fetching web pages through code that retrieves stock quote and trade volume information and then graphically charts the data. How much more practical & timely can an example be?

The author makes himself available online, responds to questions, patiently reviews code and politely makes suggestions.

My tool bag now full, my understanding thorough I highly recommend this book.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Great book for true beginner
Comment: This book does a good job of teaching "how to program" to a person with little or no experience in programming. I think it is one of the better books for green programmers. I also like the thorough explanations that teach the concepts of programming "step by step" rather than rattling off lots of code with weak explanations. This book also does a good job in not assuming you speak "computerese" by explaining a lot of terms commonly used like "scalar", "lists", "interpolation", etc. This book was a great stepping stone for me to be able to get into the meatier O'Reilly series.

Here's a couple of extracts: "Programming is about solving problems...Computers are mindless devices capable only of doing what they are told...When a method for solving a problem is reduced to a series of simple, repeatable instructions, we call that set of instructions an algorithm."
"...scalar variable, meaning it can only hold a single value."
"If you think of a variable as a storage bin with a name and an address, then you can think of a reference as a forwarding address. When you store a reference to another variable in a scalar variable, you are not storing that variable's value, but the address where its value is stored."