Top positive review
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The first place to go for Learning Perl
on 27 January 2011
For all the graduate Perl courses that I have taught this has been one of the set texts, if not the core textbook. I did not come from a programming background myself, although I am from the generation that dabbled with BBC Basic.
I find the book easily accessible and very useful. Some of the anecdotes are a little distracting and I find the use of the Flintstones annoys after a while, but it is still an invaluable text that teaches the core parts of the language clearly and concisely. The chapters on variables, arrays and hashes are particularly important for understanding the principles of programming and they are very well written. The chapters on regular expressions are also very good in explaining what can appear like random collections of punctuation.
Where the book falls down is in the later chapters looking at file and directory handling and modules. These are things that need to be introduced but the introduction to modules in particular is very superficial and the chapter on the unix/linux filesystem is overly complex. Given these faults I would still recommend it as the first textbook for learning Perl for both those new to programming and experienced programmers and system administrators that are looking for a scripting language.