Elements of Programming with Perl Paperback – 12 Nov 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is different. It doesn't assume that you have any programming knowledge at all. It teaches you programming whilst teaching you Perl. And it does it very well. If you're a non-programmer and you want to learn Perl - this is the book you need,
This book is a gem. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be inprint anymore (if not, I don't know how to explain the ridiculously high price for a new book). Anyone interested in Perl or programming should get this. Maybe find one in a library (that's what I did) or get a used one.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Having read Larry Wall's 'Programming Perl' and Tom Christiansen's 'Learning Perl' I was already acquainted with the basic constructs of the language. However as Perl is my first programming language I lacked the skills necessary to write effective reusable programs. 'Elements of Programming with Perl' early on presented the process of program design, and reinforced good design practice through well-organized code examples presented throughout all of the topical chapters.
Each chapter builds on & reinforces topics presented in previous chapters. I often found myself reading about a function I had been introduced to elsewhere, and upon following the book's example code finally discovering it's practical potency. As an example, prior to reading this book I had been capable of sorting lists of hostnames by domain only by inefficiently using a regular expression to copy the domain & pre-pend it to the beginning of the hostname. Then using the default 'sort' function followed by a loop to discard the pre-pended domain. Now I can tailor the sort function to serve my needs efficiently replacing that tangle of code with just three lines.
The book is well written with few wasted words and unlike most other authors this one understands & makes an effort to teach users of Active State Perl on Windows platforms as well as those using MacPerl. There are no sections or examples exclusive to Unix.
It is refreshing to work through and use examples that are not devoted to system administrative tasks. The chapter on module use demonstrates fetching web pages through code that retrieves stock quote and trade volume information and then graphically charts the data. How much more practical & timely can an example be?
The author makes himself available online, responds to questions, patiently reviews code and politely makes suggestions.
My tool bag now full, my understanding thorough I highly recommend this book.
I have no programming background other than the fact that I've picked up and tried reading several books on the subject of programming in Perl. (I do know HTML and I am a website developer. I just thought I would tell you this so you would realize where I might be coming from.)
I have purchased most of the books on the market that relate to getting started as a new programmer using Perl. Everything from 'Learn Perl in 24 Hours' .. to the Camel books (which are great for refenece purposes), etc. And if you've tried them, and felt frustrated, let me explain what made this book different for me.
First of all, this book is not written 'perfectly' clear. But then ... I haven't found one that is. But, what makes this book special is the offer and accessibility of the AUTHOR to each of the readers who purchase the book. The author, Andrew Johnson, is everything you could want in a teacher and coach.
With that being said, ... learning to program is not easy. (So, expect to work hard, read a lot, and practice writing code.) And, if you had your preference, you'd probably rather be in a classroom where you could ask questions of your teacher everytime you didn't understand something that was going on.
THAT IS WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK (or should I say TUTORIAL SYSTEM for learning Perl) THE BEST!
Andrew Johnson acts like your teacher and personal coach. He does an excellent job of laying out the information in the book ... as if you were in a classroom. Then, as you read through each chapter ... you will (and let me repeat ... YOU WILL) have questions.
I must say, I go to his online forum often, where I can ask anything I want (relating to the book) that I have a question on. And the answers I get back from him are not quick 'tidbits'. His answers are extremely helpful and written in plain english. JUST LIKE A GOOD TEACHER SHOULD BE!
I can't recommend the book ... AND HIS ASSISTANCE enough! It is absolutely the 'BEST' manner in which to learn PROGRAMMING WITH PERL - from the ground level up!
For about $35 ... you get the book and a TEACHER/COACH to ask questions of. What more could you want?
I am already on chapter 5 and getting more out of this book than all the others I read combined.
Gary M. Gordon Certified Web Developer email@example.com
I bought this book after reading many reviews on it both good and bad. It was the bad reviews that told me this was the perfect book for a beginner. I like to think of myself as a person who likes to understand why I do things rather than just doing something because thats how it has always been done. This book did that for me.
Precise explanations of Perl style, syntax and regular expressions more experienced programmers take for granted were a welcome sight. Even though there isn't really a right or wrong way in perl this book teaches you the right way to do things along with the full explanations I required to understand why I was doing something one way and not the other.
The exercises following the chapters are challenging but not daunting. They allow you to use the knowledge you've learned in the previous chapters, even if at first it seems impossible, but to quote the author, "Programming is a matter of practice."
I recommend this to all who are new to programming in general and wish to make Perl their first language. Now all I need is a book on C programming that does the same this one is doing for me.
Yes, I have not read this book completely, yet I have done 3 useful scripts for work and I'm amazing myself. Perl is making my life and my co-workers' much easier.
Never learned about modules? Or worse, do you just put "use CGI" in your code without knowing what it means or how you could expand on it? Chapters 14 and 16 explain about modules, how to get them from CPAN, how to create your own, etc. Have you always thought the perlfaq was too obscure and massive to use easily? The faqgrep tool on page 49 will demystify it. Have you been looping through your arrays, trying to find matches with a regex (or worse, a string comparison)? That always seemed okay to me. But using the grep and chaining functions for arrays (in chapter 12) is more clever, and reduces loops to "that old brute-force method I once used" in some cases.
The bottom line is this book is very meat-and-potatoes practical. It will make your everyday work with Perl better, because you'll understand a lot of things that no one explained to all of us self-taught Perl programmers. And you may finally feel like someone clued you in to some of the better Perl tricks and concepts.
This isn't getting 5 stars from me for only two reasons. First, the index is missing a lot of stuff that I know is there, so I end up leafing back through the pages looking for a familiar spot. And second, there isn't any discussion of the Perl DBI -- not that I need it, but I was hoping there would be some insight and tips for that, since all the other stuff was so good.