on 14 July 2007
If you've mastered The Llama (Learning Perl), make haste to read this one. Even if you only want to do scripting with Perl, you'll eventually find you need data structures slightly more complicated than just flat arrays and hashes, and you need to know about references for that. While Programming Perl does contain a fair chunk of material on just this subject, it was a bit too much for me to digest after The Llama. If Intermediate Perl (aka The Alpaca) had been around for me to read, I would have had a much easier time.
Written in the same style as The Llama, this breeze through most of the rest of Perl, in particular: references, objects, packages and modules. These are the bits that you need to use Perl as a general purpose programming language, not just for scripting. In a similar pragmatic vein, it also covers how to use tools to build your own packages in the CPAN style, and there's a good chunk of material on using Test::More for unit tests. Probably the only thing missing is material on type globs and symbol tables, although hopefully, brian d foy's forthcoming Mastering Perl will fill in these gaps.
The bottom line is this is Llama part 2, and you need to read it if you want to have any hope of understanding anyone else's Perl. But I can't give it five stars. The major problem is that the material is not very well organised. At the chapter level, objects are sandwiched between modules and packages. It would have been far preferable to keep the module and package information together. As a result, the distinction between modules and packages is rather muddied, and the introduction of objects in the middle just makes things worse. Overall, I found the explanations to lack the clarity of the Llama.
A more minor complaint is that, while there are mercifully fewer annoying footnotes, the Gilligan's Island theme (fellow people of Britain, read the Wikipedia article before you start) grates far sooner than the Flintstones flavour of the Llama.
That said, make this your second book on Perl. Then, _still_ don't read The Camel yet. Avail yourself of Perl Best Practices first.
on 20 July 2006
The first edition of this book was called "Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules", which is a bit of a mouthful and therefore has sensibly been renamed to "Intermediate Perl". It's the follow up book to "Learning Perl", written by the same authors so if you have finished "Learning Perl" and want to learn more Perl, then this is the book for you.
The book is designed for the reader to work from cover to cover. Basic knowledge of Perl is assumed, so you could skip "Learning Perl" if you've been using the language for a while. There are some exercises at the end of each chapter, with answers given in the Appendix. The book was originally written from courses the authors ran, so it is tuned to have an appropriate learning curve if your Perl knowledge can be summed up by "Learning Perl". Compared with "Programming Perl" it is a completely different style of book; "Programming Perl" is more of a reference book, so is useful in a different way to "Intermediate Perl". If you are looking to develop your Perl skills and want a bit of hand holding then "Intermediate Perl" will certainly help with that.
The book is written in a quite chatty manner: it covers the basics then builds up slowly to the more complex tasks of dealing with larger programs and modules. The book looks at how to write better Perl programs and introduces writing Perl modules. For a 250 page book there is certainly a lot packed into it.
on 23 November 2006
This is actually a really good book but I can't help but feel that it delves into some topics very early and this can create some confusion. I purchased this book after reading the original Learning Perl book, the first chapter of intermediate perl was very tricky for me but then it did seem to make more sense as I completed chapters. Great book if you take your time! my advice, buy this book, read it slowly, read some chapters again, and dont worry too much with questions like "Why would I ever use a reference?" until you are at least onto basic object principles.
on 9 February 2012
After reading "Learning Perl" i thought i knew enough to write Perl programs, but felt some knowledge was missing.
Theres a lot more to modules, when you start writing them.
"Intermediate Perl" picks up where Learning Perl left off. At the same pace, and quality of narrative.
It fills in all the gaps with References, Namespaces, Modules, and OO Modules.
It's a must buy if your writing large Perl programs.