Top critical review
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Best of a Bad Bunch
on 4 April 2002
Just about any book that claims to teach both Perl and CGI programming to complete beginners does it very badly. I don't know why that it, but this genre seems to attract authors who don't know what they're talking about. Sure they explain things in very a very easy to understand manner - but the information they pass on is usually incomplete.
The first edition of this book was very much in that camp. The Perl you learnt from it was terrible. The second edition is much better. It now includes a number of acknowledged Perl "best practices" that other books ignore, including "use strict", "-wT" and "CGI.pm".
My problem is that whilst it uses these features, I don't think it really explains _why_ you should use them. It all sounds a bit too close to "cargo-cult" programming to me (where you program simply by copying existing code, you don't make any effort to understand what's going on).
If you want a simple introduction to programming in Perl to write CGI programs then this book is head and shoulders above any of its competitors. However, if you want to understand more about Perl and CGI then you've be better off reading "Elements of Programming with Perl" following by "CGI Programming with Perl".