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Writing Perl Modules for CPAN (Expert's Voice) Paperback – 10 Oct 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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About the Author

Sam Tregar has been creating open source software for six years, four of which have been focused on coding in Perl. He is employed as a Perl programmer for, where he spends his days designing and implementing content management systems. An active participant in the Perl development community, Sam is the author of a number of popular CPAN modules including HTML::Template, HTML::Pager, Inline::Guile, and Devel::Profiler. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from New York University. When not programming, Sam enjoys black-and-white photography, playing Go, reading, and maintaining the small private zoo curated by his wife.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very arcane topic and the author, Sam Tregar, handles it with great skill, going from the very basics through to a ton of practical, directly implementable detail without being either patronising or baffling. These days, a lot of IT skills can be picked up by just jumping in and using Google when you get stuck. This, to me, is one of the rare cases when it really is worth buying the book.

I considered myself a fairly skilled Perl programmer writing code for in-house use in a demanding financial trading environment. Although I never got to actually writing and public releasing a CPAN module, (Perl's ecosphere for building and sharing add-on utility libraries), I still found it took me to a new level in writing maintainable, bug free code.

Another important thing to note is that it is also two books in one. The author devotes several chapters to writing or converting code in to C when you need high performance. Worth buying just for that, which is in fact what I did.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x88686288) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88690dbc) out of 5 stars A great whirlwind tour of Perl modules and CPAN 13 Oct. 2002
By Mike Schilli - Published on
Format: Paperback
This charming book provides an extensive overview on pretty much everything you need to know to write a Perl module, prepare it for CPAN and submit it into the wild.
It's amazing how much this book covers: Not only does Sam Tregar show how object-oriented Perl modules are architected, how to write regression test suites, how to extend Perl modules with C code, but he gets also the community aspects right -- how does your module get really popular? You can tell that Sam is a successful Perl module author himself.
Now, on every single one of these topics one could have written another 300-page book, of course. But the charming aspect of the book is that, while it doesn't go into each and every detail, it provides an excellent overview to future module authors. The printing is quite anarchic, though, with low-budget drawings and some typos which could have been caught easily by a thorough proof-reader, but it's tolerable, it's like watching a low-budget film by a very talented young director.
If that's not enough, I found the last chapter of the book invaluable, covering the CGI::Application module, which enables authors to share popular CGI-flows (e.g. bulletin boards) on CPAN.
I can whole-heartedly recommend this book to every prospective CPAN author -- there's hardly any coverage of this topic anywhere in the Perl literature besides the somewhat scattered online documentation. Buy it today!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88690e10) out of 5 stars One of my favorite Perl books 11 Feb. 2005
By Mark Leeds - Published on
Format: Paperback
One thing that makes a great programming book for me is how enjoyable it is to read from start to finish, as a reference, or just fun reading, where I just flip open to any page and read whatever I find there. Sam Tregar's book fits all of the above. Some books make you say to yourself, 'it's important stuff I should know, but I'll take a look at it later' and they usually put you to sleep after a page or two. Not this one! I cannot wait to get back to reading it and re-reading and then downloading modules and their docs for more reading and then I can't wait to put it all to use. I was even driving with it in my hand this morning with my finger in the last chapter (CGI Application Modules for CPAN) hoping for some long red lights so I could read another paragraph or two. I highly recommend this book to all Perl programmers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88693264) out of 5 stars Great read for any Perl programmer 26 May 2004
By Phil Whelan - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found the style of this book very readable and friendly, covering the main idea behind the book (writing CPAN Modules), as well as being informative about Perl best practices and an insight into some great CPAN Modules.
HASH(0x88693630) out of 5 stars essential reading for serious Perl development 10 July 2011
By David Christensen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Writing Perl Modules for CPAN" provides pragmatic guidance in an area that I've not seen in any other published text. The content and presentation are excellent -- sufficient breadth and depth, without overkill; good grammar and style; virtually no typos; and good layout, printing, and binding. A top-notch job in an industry with so many disappointing examples. The main portion of the book covers information I learned the hard way, and helped me to fill in some of the knowledge gaps that are inherent to that approach. (I wish I had bought this book when it came out in 2002.) The chapters on XS give valuable insight into how Perl itself is built, which can only make the reader a better Perl programmer. The final chapter on HTML::Application whets the reader's appetite in a subject area that still draws many people to Perl. Understand that this is not a beginner's book -- it's for intermediate to advanced Perl programmers who are ready to start building idiomatic Perl libraries. Even if you're not going to publish your modules on CPAN, following the convention has numerous benefits. Some of the content is dated, but the process described is what I've been using for years. (Help can be found via the Perl module-authors mailing list at [...]). I would welcome the opportunity to buy an updated edition. :-)
HASH(0x886935dc) out of 5 stars Excellent guide, with immediate application 21 April 2011
By Jacob - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started using this book almost immediately. I was even able to get e-mail help from the author on some fine points. This helped me publish my first package to CPAN.

Some quibbles:

1. Not everything is completely clear as written. Perhaps he has tried to idiot-proof some of his advice and I was just the improved idiot but some additional examples would have been more helpful. This is especially with his "another way of doing things" sections; I could always follow the first method and had trouble following subsequent methods to accomplish the same goal.

2. It could use an update. It was published in 2002 and the CPAN pages do not look quite the same in 2011 as they did in 2002. Close but different enough to plant some confusion.

Still, I highly recommend this book for all Perl programmers, even if you have no aspirations to publish on CPAN. It is an excellent way to package your, er... packages for internal use.
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