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3.3 out of 5 stars19
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 April 1999
The idea behind this book is an excellent one - write a half-dozen real world cgi applications and publish them with a line-by line explanation. The buyer can pick up the code, put it on their server and learn something about PERL while they're at it. Add a whole web-site dedicated to hints tips and further expansions and you're on to a winner right?
Well, wrong actually. Getting these scripts to actually work is a major undertaking. Once you've wrestled with getting everything loaded into the right directories, with the right permissions you'll find that some of the scripts won't even compile. This casts rather a lot of doubt on the months the authors claim to have spent in testing. These bugs (and more) are fixed on the book's web site, but judging by the (often unanswered) postings to the message boards there they aren't the only ones. I think a genuine novice, without unix or perl skills will give up and go elsewhere.
If you're prepared to invest time in dealing with the bugs, and have the skills to do it, you'll find a lot of useful stuff in it. Craig's writing style, too, is clear and straightforward. I hope they publish a corrected & expanded second edition as that really would be a masterpiece.
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on 13 March 2001
Matt Wright's scripts have a really bad reputation for security: they've got lots of well-publicised security holes, which he hasn't fixed. If you run these scripts on your site, then you're taking a big risk.
I'd suggest you get O'Reilly's CGI Programming with Perl instead.
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on 31 December 2002
There are certain things that a Perl/CGI book should tell you. A short list would include 1/ using "use strict" and "-w" in all your scripts, 2/ using the standard CGI.pm module and 3/ using taint mode to ensure that and data you're reading from the outside world is what you expect it to be. This book contains none of those. When you add to that the fact that Matt Wright is well-known in the Perl community for being a very bad programmer you end up with a book that should be avoided at all costs.
Sure, Matt and Craig explain what they know really well and beginners learn a lot from this book very quickly. But they don't know very much about Perl or CGI. What you'll learn will be full of bad code and misunderstandings about Perl. The worst part is thar Matt and Craig know very little about CGI security and running their scripts on your server leaves you open to a number of attacks from crackers.
Please don't buy this book.
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on 20 November 1997
Lots of books say they take a "learn-by-example" approach, but CGI/Perl Cookbook does so in a big way. It offers line-by-line breakdowns of seven commercial-quality CGI programs and a library of reusable subroutines, all developed just for this book. So you can figure out exactly what's going on in a program at any given point.
The book makes no assumptions about previous experience with CGI or Perl, so beginners can use it right off the bat. But if you're a more-experienced programmer you'll appreciate the many rich lessons contained in its more than 10,000 lines of example code and the explanations that accompany them. You'll find a treasure chest of techniques, ideas, and starting points for crafting your own CGI masterpieces. You can install programs that offer features you don't have, or borrow features from these programs and insert them into your own programs. If you've mastered CGI or Perl already you could probably write any of the programs in the book, but why bother when the authors have already done the work for you?
For each program you'll find a detailed list of features, a usage guide, complete installation and configuration instructions, a line-by-line explanation of how the program or subroutine code works, and some ideas for enhancing the code.
CGI/Perl Cookbook includes programs to:
- let users download files from your site and search your file directories
- process form input, with features like checking for missing form fields, automatically sending customized e-mail replies, and sending files to respondents
- send e-mail messages to all entries in an ASCII database file containing an e-mail addresse-great for sending personalized e-mail messages to site visitors
- add shopping capabilities to your Web site (including order tracking, tax and shipping calculation, etc.)
- collect guestbook feedback, with a rich set of related features and options
- add access statistics to Web pages, track access to external links on your pages, and more
- add password access to your site or individual pages
The book's subroutines handle a range of functions including file encoding, credit-card validation, e-mail address checking, error handling, date formatting, file locking, form parsing, basic encryption, the ability to send e-mail messages from any computer connected to the Internet, and more. And the appendices give you tips on CGI debugging, information on CGI environment variables, insights on CGI security, a CGI/Perl resource guide, and more. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more practical or useful guide to using CGI and Perl.
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on 4 February 1998
I have to thank two parties that got this book on my shelf. (1) Without the good work of the authors, this would have been just another book on this important subject on the web (Cgi's, Perl etc.)To quote a heading from page 4 of the book;This book is "Something for Everyone"; For the Clueless, For Beginning CGI/Perl Programmers, For intermediate CGI/Perl programmers, and For CGI/Perl Experts. When the authors say something for everyone, there is really something for everyone in this book. You'll know immediately the difference between CGI, CGI Programs, CGI scripts and you'll know from the first few chapters that PERL stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language; A definition other books assume you already know. Overall, this is a wonderful book that you'll refer to time and time again for very, very useful information. (2) I like to also thank my book club (The Small Computer Book Club) for making this book one of their main selection for the month. Without you it probably would have taken a little longer to find out about this book...Keep up the good selections... What a wonderful book... It will be on my bookshelf as programming reference for my 7 and 8 years old sons (Because I know it is very easy to understand...) Thanks Craig Patchett and thank you Matthew Wright for all the Matt's Script Archive...
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on 29 October 1998
For a start, the book itself doesn't expound on 20 scripts that I can see, unless they are counting the individual support subroutines as scripts?
Second; the book sets about doing things the hard way - leaving you needing to build your own CGI library of routines, which is the very opposite of what one would expect to have to do.
Much better, instead, to "use CGI;" if you are using Perl 5. To find out how, just type "perldoc CGI" into your command line. You can get free updates for "CGI" and "CGI_Lite" from CPAN -- type "perl -MCPAN -e shell" (again, Perl 5).
It may be useful to have a copy of this book in the office, but I would not recommend this book to anyone who anything other than short-term perl scripts. Writing or maintaining long-term perl based CGIs with what's in this book is a long-term pain in the derrier.
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on 18 March 1999
The publisher says Matt Wright's scripts are "...has written some of the most reliable, secure..."
Later someone chidded another reviewer and mis-interpreted why Matt Wright is the laughing stock of the developer community.
Obviously niether one of these people subscribe to BugTraq.
Matt Wright is the laughing stock of the serious developer community, not for his style - but for his lack of coding skills. If you -really- want to see your server crash or see people trash your site, by all means, install something written by Matt Wright.
Smarter developers read BugTraq, and know the truth of Matt's skills - if you want to follow in the footsteps of such a legendary bungler, then by all means, buy this book.
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on 5 February 1999
Matt's Script Archive is well known as one of the most used repositories of Perl/CGI scripts on the Internet. It is also known amongst serious Perl programmers as one of the most sub-standard and buggy collections of Perl code in existance. The book contains more of the same. You will not learn good Perl programming techniques from this book. You'd be far better off spending your money on something written by respected Perl authors like Tom Christiansen, Randal Schwartz or Lincoln Stein.
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on 23 May 1998
When I needed to learn CGI fast, I turned to a handbook. When I needed to build fast, high-performance web applications, I turned to The CGI/Perl Cookbook. It provided me with step-by-step walkthrough intruction which made me never want to put the book down. Although, there are a few minor bugs with the scripts on the CDROM, but they can be easily repaired. I would recommend this book to any person with a basic understanding of CGI.
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on 8 April 1998
I've been on Matt's Scripts Support List for over a year now, and I didn't think there were any decent books on Perl. Until I read CGI-Perl Cookbook by Craig Patchett and Matt Wright. Most books go into so much great detail that it makes it difficult to understand, even for a programmer such as myself. But this particular book is really easy to read and understand for the beginner as well as advanced user. Great job.
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