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Perl & LWP Paperback – 30 Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (30 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596001789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001780
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 686,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Perl and LWP explains how to write programs that browse the Web, using the excellent Library for the World Wide Web or LWP. It is aimed at developers who already know both Perl and HTML, although you don't need to be an expert in either.

The fascination of this topic is that it makes you see the Web in a different way, not as a set of pages for users to browse, but as a huge database for your programs to explore. The most robust technique for querying Web sites programmatically is through XML Web Services, but this approach is in its infancy. LWP takes a different route, called screen-scraping. In essence, your Perl code pretends to be a browser and grabs HTML for processing. Using LWP you could write a command-line program to search your favourite auction site, fetch news headlines, or check multiple retail sites for the best prices. As the author acknowledges, the problem with screen-scraping is its brittleness: if the target Web site adopts a new look, it breaks your code. There are also interesting fair usage issues. Even so, it's a powerful technique with many possible applications. This clear and concise guide comes complete with typically terse Perl code examples. Topics include LWP basics, posting form data, processing results with regular expressions, using trees to process HTML, imitating different browser types, and supporting cookies programmatically. An appendix offers handy information like HTTP status codes, character tables, and MIME types. LWP is large, but while this title does not attempt to cover all the modules, it does provide all you need to start coding your own Web-mining programs.--Tim Anderson

Review

Salted with plenty of examples, the book covers the whole process of navigating HTTP, downloading content, and parsing it into something usable. -- Rick Wayne, Software Development, September 2002

Solid, no-nonsense book that will teach you how to do screen-scraping using Perl. -- MIR, slashdot.org, August 19, 2002

The indispensable guide to learning LWP and using it effectively. -- Netsurfer Digest, Feb 14, 2003

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gene Boggs on 31 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to web automation. It reads as both a gentle tutorial and a well organized reference. Basic HTTP operation, regexp HTML parsing, tokenizing, cookie authentication, form handling, and robot spidering are covered extensively in numerous case studies and practical examples.
Naturally, I was impressed by the simple, consistent treatment of examples: inspect source and find the interesting bits, code things up and then enhance to suit. :-)
A particularly satisfying thing to me is the sane way of working, that the author assumes. So many people seem to just bungle their way through web programming while ignoring basics like the robots.txt file. This book helps to prevent this.
One would think that only a thick tome would be sufficient to cover such vast territory, but the author (who is an active LWP module developer) does a fabulous job covering this extensive subject matter.
I recommend this book both to anyone starting out on their way to working with the underside of the web and to accomplished professionals in need of a full reference manual.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "petebarlow" on 11 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
A satisfyingly short (242p) book that covers its subject perfectly. The examples are well written and explained and are ideal for using as a starting point for your own work. Within 15 minutes I had written a script to fetch pages of football results from a web site, process the data and produce files for uploading to my database. Previous I did this by downloading the html and editing it by hand - automating it will save me about 30 minutes a week.
Of course it's an O'Reilly title so the attractive layout, typography and attention to detail goes without saying. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to automate the extraction of data from the web - follow Sean's guidance and you'll be productive sooner than you thought possible.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the print date on my book is 2011/03/11
The content starts excellently showing how to use LWP to retrieve internet content.

However hardly any of the examples work anymore and there is no real update to this book, which can be very annoying.

Web development has moved on significantly and this book may have once been excellent but in today's world its not all that.
I would steer clear, the content needs a major revamp and some - it has the potential to be a great book again - All I can say is that it's it's a shame.

There must be other books you could buy instead.
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By andyc on 1 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Informative with good working examples
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "petebarlow" on 11 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
A satisfyingly short (242p) book that covers its subject perfectly. The examples are well written and explained and are ideal for using as a starting point for your own work. Within 15 minutes I had written a script to fetch pages of football results from a web site, process the data and produce files for uploading to my database. Previous I did this by downloading the html and editing it by hand - automating it will save me about 30 minutes a week.
Of course it's an O'Reilly title so the attractive layout, typography and attention to detail goes without saying. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to automate the extraction of data from the web - follow Sean's guidance and you'll be productive sooner than you thought possible.
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