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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2002
The summary line says it all - if you're a Perl programmer, you should buy this book irrespective of whether you're a beginner or an `old hand'.
One of the best (and worst) things about Perl is the fact that 'There's More Than One Way To Do It', and the Cookbook contains a number of useful recipes for a variety of different tasks ranging from simple things like opening files up to data parsers. A downside of this is that just when you think you know the language, the authors come up with another way to do something! The book focuses, rightly, on `everyday' programming applications and as a result the treatment of CGI and databases is lacking but, having said that, perfectly good books are available on both subjects.
Along with O'Reilly's other Perl books, the Cookbook has taken up permanent residence on my desk - the book is *that* good. If you're just getting into Perl programming, you'll learn an awful lot by using the Camel Book in conjunction with the Cookbook.
There are lots of poor computing books out there, but the Cookbook stands head and shoulders above practically everything, but then would you expect anything less from two authors who are pillars of the Perl community?
Just go out and buy it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2000
A useful book for the experienced or amateur programmer, but I would imagine it would not be the easiest read for a complete novice. An average to good knowledge in almost any other proper programming language would help in understanding many of the terms used in this book. This book has obviously not been written with the novice in mind.
A bit of unnecessary flannel exists in this book and makes some areas over complicated, yet in other areas not enough detail exists. This book is most definitely directed at the UNIX side of Perl rather than just Perl. Useful but being so UNIX biased, it occasionally can be a bit difficult adapting to the Windows environment. Although a small attempt has been made at attacking the problems with Windows NT and Perl, there is no reference to lesser OS such as Win98 or 95 and not a mention of the Mac. This is can be frustrating for some whom may wish to use a none UNIX OS. I have used this book many hundreds of times for ideas and reference in the creation of nearly a thousand scripts and packages all of which I have written and tested on Windows 98 machines and then successfully executed on UNIX machines with no changes.
Sadly (like all O-Reilly) books, the index is not as good as it could be. Most programmers who are looking for a solution to a problem don't always know the commonly used name for the answer and the index seems to have been written by someone who knows what they are talking about with Perl. Sounds like a silly comment but most whom would be using this book don't know what they are talking about and if they did why use the book ? That aside the index is moderately useful but most readers will probably find themselves inserting 50 or 60 bookmarks for the most useful parts and examples.
All that said the information embedded in this book is almost as complete as it could possibly be. Many of the examples and snippets in this book can be used directly and come fairly close to useful for real world use. All in all a very good book with moderately easy to understand texts. If you found either 'CGI Programming on the World Wide Web' or the famous Camel 'Programming Perl' remotely useful, this book will knock you back with the amount packed in. Almost everything from both books and more have been seamlessly tied together in this very good book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2000
I bought it thinking it'd be a vast collection of one-liners, but in fact, the solutions seem to average about a page each. But still, I wouldn't be without it now. It's well organised, and I personally find that it's index is pretty close to perfect, head and shoulders over most IT books (I'd say the same about other OI'Reilly books, though - perhaps the other reviewer wants other things from an index?).
The solutions I found most handy are things that tell you how to, say, parse comma delimited stuff, or do certain things to HTML files and URLs.
I found the section on validating email addresses to be one of the best I've found, and it backed me up very well when a client told me that I had to completely validate them.
It is not as readable as the camel book ("Programming Perl"), but fills a complimentary niche.
Basically, if you use perl regularly for many varied tasks, then you probably need this or you will be reinventing the wheel far too often. You'll probably get back the cover price as time saved the very first time you refer to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2007
Once you've learnt the syntax of a language, you want to learn the idioms, and how it's used most effectively. And given Perl's famous 'There's More The One Way To Do It' motto, you'll need all the help you can get. Perl Cookbook is that help.

Neither a reference nor a tutorial, if you've ever read another cookbook, you'll know what to expect -- after all, this is the daddy of them all. Themed chapters, consisting of short tasks that most people will find handy e.g. trimming white space from a string, or populating a hash. What makes Perl Cookbook so valuable is not just finding out how to do it, but finding out what the most efficient and idiomatic way to do it is. This is where you'll see the Perl way of doing things in action, and it's an immensely valuable learning experience, even if you never need to do exactly any of the things in the book.

For me, the most vital material is the earliest stuff, which takes you through how to use the string, array and hash, the guts of any Perl program. The final half of the book explores Perl's libraries for the use of databases, and a lot of network and web-related stuff, from simple socket programming, to CGI, and the use of mod_perl.

This is a cornucopia of Perl lore, firmly established in the Perl Canon, and deservedly so. You want it on your bookshelf if you want to really call yourself a Perl programmer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2008
The biggest problem with this book is that none of the examples work when using the warnings flag and the "strict" pragma... if you leave these out when writing Perl, you can very quickly tie yourself in knots trying to work out why your variables are colliding with each other. So, you can either take the lazy approach and leave out warnings and strict (and pay the cost later when you're dealing with a few hundred lines of code), or you can battle away trying to turn their examples into good Perl code that works.

The other problem with this book is... well, the fact that it's a book. This kind of example-heavy manual lends itself far better to an online format, from which example code can be copied & pasted.

Those gripes aside, this is a manual I come back to again and again (although I invested in the CD-based Perl Bookshelf from O'Reilly, which includes this book). The format is excellent, the index is a little weak, but it's generally easy to find what you're looking for. The examples are well explained and I particularly like the way in which multiple solutions are presented for each problem, reflecting the very essence of Perl.

This book is not for beginners though (hint: read the top line of the front cover); for that I recommend you read "Learning Perl" or, better still, get yourself on a beginner course.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 1999
I went through Learning Perl and Programming Perl as I was picking up Perl. Now I use Perl in my everyday work and frequently come across new barriers (in my own knowledge). This book, without exception so far, has a clear and well-explained answer to help me overcome these. I would recommend it as an essential desktop companion for any Perl programmer. When you want a fast answer to fill a particular gap in your knowledge, it beats Programming Perl (the perl bible).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2009
You'd be forgiven for assuming this book to be an inessential extra for hardcore geeks who just can't get enough of this most geeky of programming languages. However, you'd be wrong: so clearly is it written, so sensibly is it structured, that you could virtually learn Perl from this book alone.

Each chapter focusses on a clearly circumscribed area of syntax (numbers, arrays, pattern matching, modules, etc.), offering a series of "recipes" starting from real basics and going up to more complex tasks. The miracle of this book is that you can home in on whatever information you want within seconds, often without even thinking about it.

There's none of the verbosity or laboured attempts at humour of "Programming Perl": every word here is written with one aim in mind, namely to help you understand the language.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 1999
Almost without exception, any problem I hit when writing Perl has a solution buried in the Perl Cookbook. The solutions contained within are elegant and clever; I often find myself muttering "Of course!" as everything falls into place. I'd be bald from scratching my head without this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2001
Why are there so many brilliant Perl books (and so many bad PHP ones)? This book runs the gamut of things you can do with Perl. Having recipes for everything. No need to write any perl from scratch once you have this.
CGI section could have been a little bigger as could the section on Perl/Tk. But hey, no one's perfect. I use this book all the time - couldn't be without it.
If you ever do any Perl programming get this book.
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on 13 September 2007
This book is an essential collection of code snippets that can be used as a guide when coding applications. In my opinion this book along with Learning Perl are the 2 essential books to have on your desk if you are doing serious stuff with perl
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