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Wicked Cool Perl Scripts: Useful Perl Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems Paperback – 13 Feb 2006

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thing with a hook on 24 July 2007
Format: Paperback
The problem with book titles which marry terms like 'wicked' and 'cool' with programming, is that scripts which, for example, determine the particular type of EOL marker in a file, may not match your personal definition of cool. More realistically, the book's subtitle promises that the 40ish programs given here are 'useful', and this is more or less true.

There's plenty here with a system administration flavour, e.g. a duplicate file finder, a website dead link checker, a Unix user deletion script. Also, the Tk toolkit is used for some simple GUIs, and the Image::Magick module for manipulating graphics, which is probably enough to get you started on your own ideas.

Even if your needs and interests don't align with the author's, a lot of the scripts remain useful, if not for the exact content, then at least for providing the skeleton that you can use for your own ends. Some of the scripts use an object oriented interface, but don't require the user to create an OO module, so as long as you're comfortable with references, most of the code here is very good for building a beginner's confidence in tackling non trivial scripts. There's also a reasonable amount of explanation of what the different bits of the code are doing, although the layout of the annotation is not particularly effective (the Head First books still lead the way in this), and the discussion does not go too high level. This is appropriate for the most part, but you're probably not going to be able to get too far with Tk on your own from just the material provided in this book.

On the downside, the Perl itself is not very idiomatic, so you may pick up some bad habits from the style. For example, the size of an array is checked with 'if ($#words != 1)' where 'if (@words != 2)' would be the more usual form.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A book full of examples of how NOT to write perl 18 Feb. 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I couldn't resist the title, so I got this book. Unfortunately, I cannot reccommend it to people who want to learn to write better Perl, execpt as a source of examples of the mistakes you should avoid.

For example, in one of the earliest examples, the authors uses "return undef" in a situation where the return value of the routine is assigned to an array, to indicate the routine didn't find any of whatever it was looking for. Unfortunately, this is a mistake, the correct code would be to use "return;" all on its own. The correct solution produces an empty array or interim values; the mistake creates an array containing one element, 'undef'.

There are a number of similar mistakes which indicate the author is in over his head, writing things he doesn't understand; the editors know even less about the matter; and the code was never tested and verified for correctness.

If you want to learn Perl, get "Learning Perl"; If you want to improve your Perl, get "Intermediate Perl.

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Poor riddled with syntax errors 16 Jun. 2006
By perl reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't usually feel strong enough to write reviews however don't buy this book unless you want to spend hours debugging someone elses code just for the fun of it. I could have written my own in less time that it took me to fix the errors found in the code. In addition you would expect the downloadable code to work and they don't either. They are not even the same code examples found in the book. Unless you want to pay for the ideas and what modules to use this book is a waste of money.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Not "Wicked Cool" 19 Feb. 2006
By Anthony Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm going to be grumpy about this.

I have nothing good to say about this book. I don't have anything bad to say (except maybe that I dislike titles like this), but nothing grabbed me, nothing excited me.

Maybe that's because the kinds of examples presented are just what Perl is best at doing - the author demonstrates that a properly stocked toolbox can indeed be used to build a birdhouse, repair a sticking door, hang a picture. Yaaaawnn..

If you know nothing whatsoever about Perl, I suppose this might be fun. But why would you read it if you knew nothing? I think that's probably the basic flaw here: it's not a "Learn Perl" book, and it doesn't explore the more esoteric areas. The subtitle says "Useful Perl Scripts that solve difficult problems", but there are no difficult problems here, just building birdhouses, hanging pictures, and so on.

Just not my cup of tea, I guess.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Decent Perl Book 15 Feb. 2006
By T. Sabatini - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This books gives good examples of different perl scripts for many situations. What I really like about the book was the outline for each script. It gave an intro to the situation and what the script would do, the script itself, an explanation on how the script works, and then tips for modifying the script to fit you needs. A neat book just to poke around in. The only downside was that the majority of scripts were web oriented, because I use perl to administer my network and was looking for something more along that line.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good, yes. Wicked cool, maybe not. 20 Dec. 2006
By Chad Perrin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for learning by example, particularly as a follow-on to something like Learning Perl to get you started. It provides a number of useful scripts (even though some of them duplicate functionality of common system utilities), with explanations of how and why they work, and even notes on how you might alter the code to suit your own purposes. If you're a relatively new programmer that already has the basics of Perl in mind, but find yourself at loose ends wondering what to do next to help cement what you know and start learning more, this book may be exactly what you need. It's also useful for figuring out some of the basic principles of translating code between Perl and another language, thanks to the source code explanations.

The scripts themselves, however, are not exactly what I would call "wicked cool". The title is an obvious marketing conceit, designed to make the book seem more enticing. Most of the scripts, in fact, are surprisingly mundane -- but that doesn't mean they aren't useful. You may actually find yourself using some of them, with minor alterations, in your day-to-day life. Just don't expect to be wowed by the scripts themselves.
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