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Perl & LWP Paperback – 30 Jun 2002

3.2 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (30 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780596001780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001780
  • ASIN: 0596001789
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,302,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Perl and LWP explains how to write programs that browse the Web, using the excellent Library for the World Wide Web or LWP. It is aimed at developers who already know both Perl and HTML, although you don't need to be an expert in either.

The fascination of this topic is that it makes you see the Web in a different way, not as a set of pages for users to browse, but as a huge database for your programs to explore. The most robust technique for querying Web sites programmatically is through XML Web Services, but this approach is in its infancy. LWP takes a different route, called screen-scraping. In essence, your Perl code pretends to be a browser and grabs HTML for processing. Using LWP you could write a command-line program to search your favourite auction site, fetch news headlines, or check multiple retail sites for the best prices. As the author acknowledges, the problem with screen-scraping is its brittleness: if the target Web site adopts a new look, it breaks your code. There are also interesting fair usage issues. Even so, it's a powerful technique with many possible applications. This clear and concise guide comes complete with typically terse Perl code examples. Topics include LWP basics, posting form data, processing results with regular expressions, using trees to process HTML, imitating different browser types, and supporting cookies programmatically. An appendix offers handy information like HTTP status codes, character tables, and MIME types. LWP is large, but while this title does not attempt to cover all the modules, it does provide all you need to start coding your own Web-mining programs.--Tim Anderson


Salted with plenty of examples, the book covers the whole process of navigating HTTP, downloading content, and parsing it into something usable. -- Rick Wayne, Software Development, September 2002

Solid, no-nonsense book that will teach you how to do screen-scraping using Perl. -- MIR, slashdot.org, August 19, 2002

The indispensable guide to learning LWP and using it effectively. -- Netsurfer Digest, Feb 14, 2003


This volume on Perl and LWP covers topics including: understanding LWP and its design; fetching and analyzing URLs; extracting information from HTML using regular expressions and tokens; working with the structure of HTML documents using trees; setting and inspecting HTTP headers and response codes; managing cookies; accessing information that requires authentication; extracting links; cooperating with proxy caches; and writing Web spiders (also known as robots) in a safe fashion. It also includes many step-by-step examples that show how to apply the various techniques. Programs to extract information from Websites such as BBC News, Altavista, ABEBooks.com, and the Weather Underground, are explained in detail. The guide shows how to make Web requests, submit forms, and even provide authentication information, and it demonstrates using regular expressions, tokens, and trees to parse HTML.

From the Publisher

The LWP (Library for WWW in Perl) suite of modules lets your programs download and extract information from the Web. Perl & LWP shows how to make web requests, submit forms, and even provide authentication information, and it demonstrates using regular expressions, tokens, and trees to parse HTML.. This book is a must have for Perl programmers who want to automate and mine the Web.

About the Author

Sean Burke is an active member in the Perl community and one of CPAN's most prolific module authors. He has been a columnist for The Perl Journal since 1998, and is an authority on markup languages. Trained as a linguist, he also develops tools for software internationalization and Native language preservation.

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