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Catalyst: Accelerating Perl Web Application Development Paperback – 12 Nov 2007

2.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (12 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847190952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847190956
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,494,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jonathan Rockway, a member of the Catalyst Core Team, has been programming Perl since his middle-school years. He became professionally involved with Perl when he was a desktop support minion at the University of Chicago and inherited a mod_perl application. He now works as a software developer at Infinity Interactive. In his spare time, he maintains a collection of modules on the CPAN and tries to speak at as many Perl conferences as possible.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is my first review of a book. I am sorry if I am too harsh. But these are my thoughts about the book. Good or bad, I would like to congratulate Packt publishing for accepting the publication of a book about a moving target. Catalyst is all but stable, and things change from week to week.

On to my comments:

The first chapter is a concise introduction to MVC. Instead of describing the details on what this approach means, the author motivates the user for its need. No big definitions are given: just the needed to understand the Catalyst architecture. At the end, a small section discusses the Catalyst framework installation. I would not add that section to the end of the first chapter, but probably as an introduction to the second one. But there are just details.

After this quick presentation on the MVC design pattern, the author introduces the implementation of Views, Controllers and Models. This introduction is very soft, but enough to the reader to start understanding the basics of Catalyst. Sometimes the author tries to explain a little detail that will be expanded later without much success. If you have an idea of Catalyst you will be able to start writing your first application and exploring some new features of Catalyst.

The third chapter main purpose is to present a basic CRUD: Create, Read, Update, Delete application. It starts with the definition of the database model, exactly where the most audacious reader will be making questions. This makes it a good complement of the previous example. Follows some details on how to build a form using Catalyst::Controller::FormBuilder, and how to use this form for creation and updating of database records.
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I bought this book hoping to get a better understanding of Catalyst, and while this has finally happened, I had to work very hard to get there.

The book uses a number of projects to illustrate things, and this means that you repeat things quiet a few times. I can understand one very simple project then another that is carried throughout the book, but 3 seems too many to me.

It doesn't flow very well, and I found myself having to read a lot of stuff more than once to understand what was going on, despite a strong perl background.

Having recently finished reading 'Build your own Ruby on Rails web applications', I was expecting this book to be a lot more like that, and as a result I felt quite let down in both how the material was presented and the disjointed nature of the material.

This, coupled with numerous errors throughout the book means that I can't rate it more than 2 stars. In all honesty, I could have got to where I am just by reading the FAQ, doing the tutorial and then building on that. And I'd have lunch money to spare at the end :)
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Format: Paperback
This is the first Catalyst-related book to be published, and I'm very happy of this as Catalyst is my platform of choice for web application development. Packt seems like a great publisher, as it provides books on very specific topics that otherwise might end up being uncovered by the printed media.

Catalyst is a killer Perl application, and brings MVC web development to a new level. The main other available frameworks (i.e. Rails) try to impose the framework authors' choices on the developer (i.e. which templating system to use, which database abstraction library to prefer, ...); Catalyst simply provides a basic structure, along with a wide range of different choices which play well with this basic structure. This approach greatly improves the developer's opportunities to create customized and high-quality software, but it also has a downside: newbies find it difficult to enter the Catalyst world, as they have to make choices they're not yet ready to make, and so they might tend to walk away from Catalyst, leaning towards a different framework. Jonathan Rockway's book attempts to solve this problem, providing a beginner's guide to Catalyst where all the relevant choices have already been made by the author. This book tells you: "there's more than one way to do things, and this is my way; follow it, and then you might decide to stick with it or make changes but, in the meanwhile, you will have learned Catalyst".

Catalyst - Accelerating Perl Web Application Development begins with an introduction to MVC concepts and with an overview of the Catalyst installation. The main focus of the book is, however, development of applications, from simple to more advanced ones which involve complex database operations and authentication.
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