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Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl (Effective Software Development) Paperback – 19 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 2 edition (19 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321496949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321496942
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.6 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 890,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The Classic Guide to Solving Real-World Problems with Perl—Now Fully Updated for Today’s Best Idioms!


For years, experienced programmers have relied on Effective Perl Programming to discover better ways to solve problems with Perl. Now, in this long-awaited second edition, three renowned Perl programmers bring together today’s best idioms, techniques, and examples: everything you need to write more powerful, fluent, expressive, and succinct code with Perl.


Nearly twice the size of the first edition, Effective Perl Programming, Second Edition, offers everything from rules of thumb to avoid common pitfalls to the latest wisdom for using Perl modules. You won’t just learn the right ways to use Perl: You’ll learn why these approaches work so well.


New coverage in this edition includes


  • Reorganized and expanded material spanning twelve years of Perl evolution
  • Eight new chapters on CPAN, databases, distributions, files and filehandles, production Perl, testing, Unicode, and warnings
  • Updates for Perl 5.12, the latest version of Perl
  • Systematically updated examples reflecting today’s best idioms


You’ll learn how to work with strings, numbers, lists, arrays, strictures, namespaces, regular expressions, subroutines, references, distributions, inline code, warnings, Perl::Tidy, data munging, Perl one-liners, and a whole lot more. Every technique is organized in the same Items format that helped make the first edition so convenient and popular.

About the Author

Joseph N. Hall has programmed for a living since 1984, taught his first computer class at age fourteen, and has worked with Perl since 1993. Joshua A. McAdams, a programmer at Google, is the voice of Perlcast. He has hosted two Perl conferences, conducts meetings for Chicago Perl Mongers, has spoken about Perl at events worldwide, and is a CPAN author. brian d foy is coauthor of Learning Perl, Fifth Edition (O’Reilly Media, 2008), and Intermediate Perl (O’Reilly Media, 2006), and author of Mastering Perl (O’Reilly Media, 2007). He established the first Perl user group, the New York Perl Mongers; publishes The Perl Review; maintains parts of the core Perl documentation; and has more than ten years of Perl training experience.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Siraj A. Shaikh on 27 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
It is not easy to write programming books. How does one do it? Start with the code first and then an example? Or find a context and then introduce the language? This book is different. It is like a conversation between the writers and the reader, rather two programmers.

Every topic of Perl is dealt with individually, as a step at a time, with the most relevant features demonstrated using snippets of code. Admittedly, the nature of Perl lends itself to this: it is best to learn it by doing, trying and testing it.

The book is organised in thirteen chapters covering an apt set of topics ranging from the basics to expressions to warnings to databases. The chapters are followed by a valuable resource list in Appendix A, which is always welcome.

If I were to pick one, Chapter 5 is as detailed a section on filehandles in Perl as you would find. One has to have some access to a practical environment to benefit from the `conversation' the authors are having with the reader: the subtext behind the mingled text and code is an attempt to read the developer's mind, nurturing and coaching him into using the language. I find this approach largely effective.

The book is well formatted in a slim version. It is ideal for beginners and students getting to grips with Perl. For experienced developers, I am sure they will find a rich variety of books on Perl that compete with this.

Overall, I find the book highly readable and accessible, with topics laid out clearly and purposefully. For a book dedicated to programming, this one is well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CloughieD on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Value for money, having lots of no nonsense techniques.

As it states, however, not really for the absolute beginner but then a useful addition to the book shelf for the non-beginner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great material written by people who understand Perl 12 Jun. 2010
By M. Stok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Effective Perl Programming packs a lot of useful information into a slim and manageable volume. There is no "filler" material in the book, which assumes you are already familiar with Perl. I have developed Perl software for more than fifteen years, and here are the aspects of Effective Perl Programming which struck me particularly:

The book doesn't cover what has already been covered elsewhere, so the material is all fresh and the space is used to investigate topics in reasonable detail.

The focus on idiomatic Perl - the authors say: "Although Perl's motto may be "There's More Than One Way To Do It," the corollary is, "But Most of Them Are Wrong," or "Some Ways Are Better Than Others."" The book illustrates how to write idiomatic Perl from the choice of language construct through to testing code and using CPAN (the Comprehensive Perl Archive) effectively.

The authors demonstrate a deep understanding of Perl, and have clearly honed their examples and explanations. Well explained areas include: list vs. array, context, local vs. my, Unicode and utf8 handling, and which language constructs are appropriate where. Their experience with Perl in the real world shows in the explanations.

The writing and examples are clear and concise. The book's web site has an errata section which is kept up to date so I could mark up the known errors.

Effective Perl Programming revealed some of the features of recent Perl and new modules which I hadn't noticed or had time to internalize. Sometimes it is time to unlearn old habits and get up to date!

The authors have clearly carefully selected which material to cover, and covered it well. Part of writing idiomatic Perl is to improve the way I think of writing in Perl, and the topics selected by the authors cover about 90% of the things I need to do in my software development using Perl.

The book uses colour in the code examples to highlight the important bits. The quality of the book as a physical artifact seemed better than most "mass market" technical books I buy these days.

The time I spent reading the book has already been handsomely rewarded. All in all the book is well written, accurate, and a delight to read. The authors know their stuff and provide pointers to resources which cover other aspects of Perl well.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Worth having, no matter how expecienced you are 10 Aug. 2010
By Egor Shipovalov - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having purchased the first edition many years ago, I've found it probably the most useful Perl book I ever had - one of those that Internet somehow couldn't manage to replace. It showed how to think in Perl, often tackling problems in ways not possible in other languages. This book is an excellent sequel that I'd consider a must-have for any Perl developer. I routinely check almost every Perl book that comes out, and this is probably one in a dozen I've seen lately that could teach me something about the language itself. There couldn't be a better indication that Perl is alive and kicking.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Packed Full of "Effective" Information 2 Jun. 2010
By Shild - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't own the first edition, so I can't compare the two editions. I did read a review of the 1st edition that talked about how densely populated it was for a small book, well that certainly is the case for the 2nd edition. With 12 years of Perl growth since the 1st edition, there is a lot more density added to the book. It is not, as the authors state, the definitive guide on Perl, but it is well worth owning and covers a lot of topics (including Perl 5.12) in small concise sections or "Items" that end with a "Things To Remember" section which is a list of key points that the reader should "remember". I highly recommend this book for any perl programmer, even though it is geared towards the intermediate to advanced Perl programmer. I also recommend checking out the book's website (effectiveperlprogramming dot com), which states "The Effective Perler is the online extension of the Effective Perl Programming, 2nd Edition." I try to visit the website every couple of days, it has more informative "Items" that did not make it into the book. It's worth a visit and there are fairly consistent posts.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but some recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt 21 Feb. 2011
By kievite - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book essentially an excellent cookbook for Perl 5.10 with a lot of interesting material. Many recipes will be familiar to experienced Perl programmers, but I think everybody can find interesting bits to learn in this book. It reveals some features of Perl 5.10 that few people know about like "state" variables (alternative to "my" variables that keeps the value between invocations), extensions to regex including the ability to assign names to variables that contain matching elements of regular expressions (traditionally $1, $2,...), case statement (which uses the keyword "given") and so on and so forth...

The authors love affair with idioms is a little bit unfortunate, because that is a dangerous path, but most recipes are solid and do not abuse Perl just in order to look clever. Still, what I hate about Perl and Perl book authors is that it looks like Perl attracts special type of people who love complexity for the sake of complexity: complexity junkers. And some pages of the book raised red flags for me.

You need clearly understand that there is a danger with some of those idioms, and shorter is not always better. You better be clear then idiomatic ;-). Again, most of the book contains excellent recipes, but sometimes the authors lose the sense of reality as happened when they try to disprove valid recommendations by David Tiler: "Many Perl programmers write programs that have references to $_ running like an invisible thread through their programs. Programs that overuse $_ are hard to read and are easier to break than programs that explicitly reference scalar variables you have named yourself.")

All-in-all this is a good collection of Perl recipes tuned to Perl version 5.10 and later. Some recipes are extremely valuable as they explain or clarify some less well known but useful Perl features or constructs introduced in version 5.10. The authors provide (mostly ;-) useful advice.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not For Newcomer! 28 Jan. 2011
By SrecaForever - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't read before i brought this book. The content in this book is excellent but IT NOT A BEGINNER'S GUIDE! So if your a newcomer to Perl look elsewhere. If you are an intermediate or pro Perl coder looking to update/upgrade your knowledge, buy this.
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