Like Topsy, Perl just grew, and as a result so has Programming Perl. It's now over 1,000 pages but needs to be as it does several different jobs. Firstly, it's an introduction to the Perl language for those new to programming. It's a guide for those coming from other languages and it's a Perl language reference.
Larry Wall is a linguist, among his other interests, and perhaps for this reason Perl is a peculiarly flexible language with many routes to achieving the same ends, as the authors ably demonstrate. It's also extensible in several ways, designed to work with many other languages and, as it's largely interpreted, Perl programs tend to run unmodified on a variety of platforms--though platform-specific Perl modules and programming practices are also discussed.
A major strength of Programming Perl is the way subject areas are approached from several directions. This constant viewpoint-shifting eliminates blind spots in the reader's understanding as well as providing a pleasing echo of the way Perl itself can take many routes from here to there.
Because the Perl community is both knowledgeable and active the language covers a lot more ground than it did at the time the last edition of Programming Perl was published. Even if you have both previous editions you'll want this latest version--if only for the new jokes. --Steve Patient
Put simply; this book made me a better Perl coder, and is always by my side, waiting to be referred to for the umteenth time. -- Laurance, linuxdot.org, Oct 2001