Programming Perl, 4th Edition
Unmatched power for text processing and scripting
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: February 2012
Pages: 1184

Adopted as the undisputed Perl bible soon after the first edition appeared in 1991, Programming Perl is still the go-to guide for this highly practical language. Perl began life as a super-fueled text processing utility, but quickly evolved into a general purpose programming language that’s helped hundreds of thousands of programmers, system administrators, and enthusiasts, like you, get your job done.

In this much-anticipated update to "the Camel," three renowned Perl authors cover the language up to its current version, Perl 5.14, with a preview of features in the upcoming 5.16. In a world where Unicode is increasingly essential for text processing, Perl offers the best and least painful support of any major language, smoothly integrating Unicode everywhere—including in Perl’s most popular feature: regular expressions.

Important features covered by this update include:

  • New keywords and syntax
  • I/O layers and encodings
  • New backslash escapes
  • Unicode 6.0
  • Unicode grapheme clusters and properties
  • Named captures in regexes
  • Recursive and grammatical patterns
  • Expanded coverage of CPAN
  • Current best practices
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oreillyProgramming Perl, 4th Edition
 
4.0

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

83%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Accurate (3)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Expert (4)
    • Intermediate (4)
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      • Developer (4)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    5.0

    Very Complete and useful

    By favendano

    from Santiago, Chile

    Verified Buyer

    Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

    With this book I start at 0 and now don't stop with Perl, good book.

    (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    The ultimate Reference Perl book

    By Franck

    from Vancouver - Tahiti - Paris

    About Me Developer, Educator, Language Specialist, Maker, Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Read Review

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

    [ /!\ To the reader : Please refer to the Note at the end of the review ]

    As a computer language specialist, and an early Perl adopter, long before Python or Java, for tackling with art many medium-to-complex problems, and having them quickly solved efficiently and elegantly, I was responsible for introducing Perl in a Tahiti's University Computer Science course - which I taught for 10 years - as an eclectik general programming language, praising it to my students for having brought to me lots of deep pleasure and appreciation since the older fascinating days of Lisp and Prolog.

    To this date, O'Reilly has a long successful record at publishing high quality Perl books, like "Programming Perl, 3rd Edition", "Advanced Perl Programming", "Perl Hacks", "Perl Best Practices", and "Computer Science and Perl Programming".

    Amongst these books, "Programming Perl" (also know as the "Camel book", or the "Blue book") is certainly the most comprehensive, error free, most precise, most exciting Perl book ever written to date.

    "Programming Perl" 3rd Edition was released 12 years ago, to support up to Perl 5.6. Any serious enthousiast Perl programmer might have bought this book 1070 pages long. Despite almost a daily use for over 12 years, mainly as a mainstreem reference manual, my personal copy, though heavily annotated for quick reference, has remained in a very good shape all along. The material I kept coming at are chapter 29 "Functions", which provides the reader with a broad and comprehensive coverage reagarding all Perl built-in functions, and chapter 32 "Standard Modules", which provides a (almost) complete listing of the standard modules comprising the standard Perl distribution, along with a brief but comprehensive description of what each module does.

    Long awaited, since Perl jumped from version 5.6 to version 5.14 in the intervening 12 years, I feel very sad to notice that the new 4th edition of the Camel book does not live to its expectations.

    Thicker by 12mm, but only 60 pages longer, due to using an unnecessary larger font and thicker paper, the important chapter "Standard Modules", along with chapter 33 "Diagnostic messages", did not make it into this new release. Also, this long awaited new edition does not provide the seasoned Perl programmers with a clearly separate chapter that would have made a terrific job at summarizing for them the language evolution from Perl 5.6 to Perl 5.14.

    Since all the information included in the Camel book has, more or less, always been available through the Perldoc and the various man pages installed along with the Perl standard distribution, the only point of buying this book was to gain a practical, up-to-date, efficient, accurate and fast access to this information through an all-in-one book.

    As this held up to edition 3, this no longer seems the case with new edition 4. The removal of the very important chapter "Standard Modules" so enjoyable at flipping thru, glancing at, or simply reading, in order to learn and etch so many important programming reflexes, is now a thing of the past. And unfortunately a big loss! Quickly finding out about important modules comprising the Standard Perl distribution will never be again that easy. And in all case, you will a minima now need a computer on hand.

    With so many programming frameworks having gained so much popularity in these last 12 years, e.g. Java, Python, Ruby, or PhP, one could have thought that O'Reilly's release of this new edition was to give a renewed interest and incentive to the large existing base of already seasoned Perl developers.

    Hélas, this is not the case. For seasoned Perl developers, I suggest that keeping the 3rd edition of the Camel book, and reading at leisure the man pages "perluniXXX" and "perlXXXdelta" is the way to go, instead of buying this new edition.

    For new Perl developers, I'm not sure! Though this edition is up-to-date regarding the language features, it misses the important "Standard modules" chapter, a minima an index thereof.

    As for me, I got this new edition in pre-release at half its price. Therefore, I will clip Chapter 32 from the edition 3, stick it in edition 4, and transfer in my lengthly annotations, to be ready to go another 12 years or so.

    I urge O'Reilly to consider the followings for further editions of the beautiful Camel book :
    - Include chapter "Standard Modules"
    - Provide a chapter "Language evolutions"

    Then, the Camel book legend will continue stronger than ever, and any one will quickly forget the mis-adventures of Edition 4.

    Note -- 2013/03/03

    After all, knowing how difficult it is to write a good average technical book, and finding myself using this 4th edition often since I first wrote this review a year ago (sometimes complementing it with for the library with the 3rd edition -- not a big deal), absolutely convinced, from reading ten's of other technical books, that the new "Camel" book, as it is called, still stands as one of the most accurate and comprehensive book ever written on any computer language, here Perl -- revered as the Bible amonsgt the Perl community -- I feel I was being unfair in giving this new edition only 3 stars, quite an under-evaluation.

    Today, I'm proud to enhance my review and rate this book a well deserved 5 stars. If 6* were allowed, I would give it 6 ;)

    Cheers,

    Franck Porcher, Ph.D -- Theoretical Computer science (Paris)

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    The Camel book updated

    By teak

    from Jyväskylä, Finland

    About Me Developer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Correct amount of humor
    • Easy to understand
    • Huge
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Huge

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

    I own the paper version of the book (3rd edition) and got the 4th edition (ebook) to review under O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. The Camel book is THE BOOK about Perl.

    I have hard time to compare this to anything else what I've read. The book is not a tutorial nor a reference book. The book is geared towards seasoned Perl veteran, but it is still useful to me (I haven't written anything with Perl in years). For beginners in Perl I'll suggest Learning Perl (which I've reviewed earlier), you can learn Perl from this book too, but it is a quite jump to the deep end. I liked the book, even though I'm not seasoned Perl veteran. The main grievance for me about the book was that it was too large for ebook reader in my tablet. The reader crashed few times with this 10+Mb book :)

    The update for the Camel was long overdue (my own opinion) as the old book covered version 5.6 of the Perl and currently stable Perl version is 5.16 (5.14 is still supported). This is the reason why I did choose this book to review. The book follows the standard O'Reilly typographical conventions, so code sections, inputs, etc. are easy to see from the text. Also there is only few images (in 1000+ pages) so you know that they are there for a purpose. The writing style is a little bit more serious than in Learning Perl but still there is enough humor in it to make the book something to read for enjoyment, but there is also a lot of reference stuff in it too.

    The book covers a lot of ground. It tells what you can do with Perl, what Perl can do for you and what you can do for Perl (including hints for thesis subjects in computer science). There are chapters devoted to reference material like Perl functions and there is a section about poetry in Perl. The longest chapter (not including reference material), about 1/10th of the book, is about pattern matching. I would have been surprised if it wouldn't have been so as the Perl is mainly about handling text.

    As a summary, I liked the book and recommend it to people who know their basics in the Perl and want to go further. For learning the Perl I don't recommend the book (I recommend Learning Perl) but you can try to do it with this book too.

    (6 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

     
    2.0

    Print edition will fall apart

    By JimJ

    from Illinois

    About Me Designer, Developer, Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

      I'm really disappointed in the quality of the binding on the print edition. I've had my copy only a couple of weeks, and several of the signatures are detached from the binding. Perfect binding doesn't work with this thickness. This edition is about 1/4 inch thicker than the previous edition. I've used the 3rd edition for over 2 years and binding is fine. This 4th edition hasn't lasted 2 weeks. Publisher should use a different bind or make this into a 2-volume set. Personally I prefer printed version since I like to sit a read chapters at a time.

      (13 of 22 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Covers the (Boring but Necessary) Core

      By Turbo Goat

      from Albany, NY

      About Me Developer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Covers Core Perl
      • Easy to understand
      • Irreverant

      Cons

      • Doesn't cover Modern Perl
      • Dumb Subtitle

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

      I'm a software engineer who started out writing C/C++ and got thrown into Perl head-first. At first, I thought Perl was something that happened when you spent too long under flourescent lights in a basement cubicle, but I slowly came to realize its efficiency at getting things done.

      This book covers core Perl (the stuff that ships with the interpreter and is part of the language), and mentions Modern Perl (the stuff that makes it an interesting, useful, extensible, maintainable, friendly language) because the community demands it. It does a great job of covering the fundamentals of the language, including the basic data concepts, I/O, and basic object system. I'd say it's a fine reference and a good read for anyone who really wants to refine their understanding of Perl (for example, if you were thrown in head-first and now find yourself using the language a lot).

      However, I agree with the first review, which kvetches that modern Perl is so much more than a text-processing and scripting tool, and it's not fair for the front cover to label it as such. Frankly, I'd get rid of the sub-title because you can't sum up Perl in any nifty little phrase, other than "Perl." Or perhaps /(Perl)+/. The introduction to the book doesn't do much to highlight the sexiness and utility of modern Perl, either -- it ends up making it look like a crufty old Unix tool that has had an OO capability slapped onto it. Modern Perl is Object Oriented, not the morass of unintelligible idoms that turned so many people off to the language years ago (and which this book, for some reason, highlights).

      I'm hoping that the edition of Intermediate Perl that's slated for next year does a better job of carry the flag for Perl in modern use: object-oriented systems for dealing with the world at large, including web frameworks that make fast prototypes easy to build but can also handle the load of a production environment, DB interop that makes modern cached environments easy to use, and a whole community of energetic contributors.

      (4 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      "Unmatched power for text"? Really?

      By apeiron

      from Philadelphia, PA

      Comments about oreilly Programming Perl, 4th Edition:

      "Unmatched power for text processing and scripting"? Are you serious? Come on, O'Reilly. Are you really that out of touch with Perl? I know it's not the new hip thing, but are you *trying* to kill it?

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