Learning Perl, 5th Edition
Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: June 2008
Pages: 352

Learning Perl, popularly known as "the Llama," is the book most programmers rely on to get started with Perl. The bestselling Perl tutorial since it was first published in 1993, this new fifth edition covers recent changes to the language up to Perl 5.10.

This book reflects the combined experience of its authors, who have taught Perl at Stonehenge Consulting since 1991. Years of classroom testing and experience helped shape the book's pace and scope, and this edition is packed with exercises that let you practice the concepts while you follow the text. Topics include:

  • Perl data & variable types
  • Subroutines
  • File operations
  • Regular expressions
  • String manipulation
  • Lists & sorting
  • Process management
  • Smart matching
  • Using third party modules

Perl is the language for people who want to get work done. Originally targeted to sysadmins for heavy-duty text processing, Perl is now a full-featured programming language suitable for almost any task on almost any platform-from short fixes on the command line to web applications, bioinformatics, finance, and much more. Other books may teach you to program in Perl, but this book will turn you into a Perl programmer.

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oreillyLearning Perl, 5th Edition
 
4.6

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

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    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (5)
  • Helpful examples (5)
  • Accurate (3)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (5)
    • Student (3)
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      • Developer (4)

    Reviewed by 9 customers

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    (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great intro to Perl

    By Jim Schubert

    from Richmond, VA

    About Me Software Engineer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

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

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

      I picked up this book on a whim to learn Perl. I was extremely impressed, especially by the three chapters on Regular Expressions.

      If you have used Perl, this book may be fairly basic. There are whole chapters on Scalars, Arrays, Hashes, etc. I have a lot of experience in a lot of languages and technologies, and I can tell you this book is well-written and well-organized to ease you into the Perl mindset.

      First of all, most languages are like mathematics. 1+1=2 is a rule. If that rule didn't work, math wouldn't work. Similarly, 'int x = 1;' in C-style languages will always point the variable 'x' to the memory location storing the value of '1'. Rules are rules. However, Perl is contextual. When you do one thing in Perl, you may have a different result depending on the context of the code. For example (extremely-generalized example), hashes can be considered an array of values in which every even index is the key and every odd index is the value. So, an array of ["first", "1st", "second", "2nd" ] could easily become a hash with the keys and values related as expected. Weird? Yes. Basic, not really. I think that can be a very difficult concept for a lot of people... too meta.

      The book does a great job of easing a lot of the Perl concepts onto the reader. Interestingly, the part of the book I found the most useful are the three Regular Expressions chapters. I have recommended this book to students in the past solely for the three Regular Expressions chapters. They are clearly and concisely written in a way that presents the Perl syntax very well.

      If you're familiar with Perl already, this book probably isn't for you. You would probably be better off with the Intermediate Perl book also available by O'Reilly. Even after reading both books and working a bit with the Catalyst framework, I found myself coming back to the last chapter of this book to fully understand eval blocks.

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Love the book, now get Intermediate Perl

      By DaleyB

      from Nottingham, UK

      About Me Developer, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice

        Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

        I love this book, from beginning to end. The structure of the book is superb in the sense that the chapters are nicely split up. You read one chapter, then have a Q and A session at the end, which, in my opinion, is the best way of learning by doing.

        I would buy more Randal Schwartz books, and hope there will be many more to come on the Perl subject.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        good, but elementary book

        By Michal Konrad Owsiak

        from Poland

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples

        Cons

        • Not comprehensive enough
        • Too basic

        Best Uses

        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

        Learning Perl is a typical elementary book. You can find there everything, beginner needs. You will be guided through the basics of Perl, elementary data types, structures and conditional loops. What this book reminds me is good old "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie. Authors of Learning Perl simply go step by step and present language specific constructs to the reader. However, this book is not for everybody. It is neither a reference guide, nor a "Learn by example" kind of book. It's an elementary. You will be though Perl from the very basics and I am pretty sure this is great for people who begin their experience with Perl. What I liked within the book? Well, the "Some Advanced Perl Techniques" chapter - which is unfortunately very short, brought my attention. Another interesting part of the book was devoted to regular expressions, however I missed XML related examples and references. XML is quite important these days and to pass over it is strange thing for me. In general, I'd advise buying it to anyone who wants to learn Perl a consistent way rather than through "found in the Internet" examples. On the other hand, if you are looking for a reference or advanced book on Perl - try finding something else.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Best Perl beginner Book

        By Abi

        from Chennai, India

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Beginner
          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          Learning Perl is a fantastic book for beginners. It covers the fundamentals of Perl and quickly takes you from beginner to intermediate level. This book in its 5th edition now, has been updated for Perl 5.10 version. This edition is co-authored by 3 people - Randhal L.Schwartz, Tom Phoenix and Brian d Foy.

          Randal L.Schwartz, who wrote the first edition, has conducted Perl trainings worldwide and has refined the book based on feedbacks received from those trainings. So what you have in this book is a great package of years-of-classroom-trainings,experience and feedback from community.

          What I liked in this book is the simple language that makes understanding easy. The instructions are precise. Only the essentials for a beginner are addressed. For deeper understanding you could always go to references indicated in the footnotes. There are exercises provided at the end of each chapter. For each question, (an approximate) time required to solve that question, is provided. I liked that gentle-nudge to complete the questions on or before time. The exercises have been made more effective as a result of feedback from various training sessions conducted by the authors.

          Perl is a widely adopted tool by programmers, DBAs, system administrators who want to come up with some quick hacks. The worldwide community support has taken it from a text-processing tool to a language to build web applications. If you would like to add a power tool to your skill-set then Perl would top your list and to get started in Perl there is no better book than this. If you are framing a reading-list for beginners be sure to include this book.

          I reviewed this book as a part of Oreilly's Blogger Review Program. In exchange for my honest opinion on the book, I receive an electronic copy of the book at no charge. If you are a "see it to believe it" type of person, checkout the preview of this book in Oreilly's web page and also errata of the same.

          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          too good

          By gurutheguru

          from lowell MA

          Verified Reviewer

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          best way to start learning perl . very neatly presented ..

          (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Going out of style?

          By Jfg[B

          from Tromsø, Norway

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples

          Cons

          • Inconsistent

          Best Uses

          • Novice

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          I already own 2/e of this book, which I would gladly give 4 or even five-star rating. For tutorial and introductory-level content, this edition is still very good. Even so, I was first confused and then disappointed with this edition. This was to do with coding style.Style, IMO, is important. Not for its own sake, but for the sake ofbeing able to quickly and accurately read code.I don't expect to see coding style that I agree with everywhere. Evenso, I have been accustomed to finding a familiar and consistent codingstyle in every ORA book I ever handled, and I have never beensurprised by code formatting in these books. This edition of theLlama book uses at least four (arguably five) different brace andspace styles. (I use names from [@]).- There is what the Llama used to have: the OTBS with spaces beforethe parentheses for control structures, not for functions, and nospaces directly inside the parentheses. This style is used in chapter1-7, 9, 13, 14, 16 and 17, and with some exceptions in chapters 8, 10,and 12.- Then there is the Banner style, usually without spaces betweencontrol structures and parentheses, and spaces directly inside, usedin chapters 8 (section on named groups), 10 (section on defined-or),12 (section on stacked file tests) and most of chapter 15.- There is Whitesmiths style in chapter 11- And finally there are some traces of Pico style, most notably in theexamples with code omitted in chapter 12, and the section on dumbmatching in chapter 15.So in summary, all the old (i.e. 2/e) material is consistent, butwhere new sections and chapters have been added, consistency withexisting text has not been maintained. Consequently, instead of beingable to easily browse the text to look for what is new, I must nowdeliberately scan the code examples up and down, matching up bracesmanually. Particularly egregious are the examples on page 229 whereat first glance one might have suspected OTBS to have been used, butwill end up mismatching braces.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Excellent. Perfect for beginners

          By jdruin

          from Undisclosed

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          Learning Perl is meticuously written for those new to programming Perl. To some extent, the book covers basic programming concepts so it can be used by those making Perl their first computer language.

          The book is organized so that experienced programmers can used the book as a syntax reference without concern for the details. The chapters explain topics both conceptually and by explaining Perl syntax.

          When showing syntax, the authors show the various shortcuts Perl has built in plus alternative syntax that is easier to understand. This is helpful since someone new to Perl is likely to look at examples from various programmers; some of which will use the shortcut syntax and some who will use the longer but easier to understand and maintain sytax.

          Overall, a great book to start with. The basic concepts are covered in detail so that someone new to perl should be able to follow along easily. More advanced programmers will need to get the second and third books in the series if they plan to use Perl professionally. This first book stops after beginner concepts are covered.

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          THE book for Perl Programmers

          By Edmonton Linux User Group

          from Edmonton

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          One should be careful when trying to critique a classic that some consider on a par with the Bible itself - if you are to be believed at

          all!

          Yes, this is the classic 'llama book,' revised for the fifth time, from the folks who teach Perl at Stonehenge Consulting. It's the book that probably more Perl programmers cut their teeth on than any other. My first exposure to the Perl language was on the first edition of the book, and when I had questions, they were promptly answered by one of the authors. This edition includes some useful information on changes incorporated in the Perl 5.10 version.

          As good an introduction to Perl that this books is, however, you need to remember that this is an introduction, and not an exhaustive reference - you'll need several feet of bookshelf space just for the additional Perl information O'Reilly has (and I'll have them all, soon!).

          Also, the information is a good introduction and grounding in the language. However, I've actually found another book to be more useful as a keyboard-side companion, but then, I'm not using this other book to learn - just as a helping hand.

          The major audience, of course, is the beginning Perl programmer. And it doesn't hurt old Perl hands to skim through it for a refresher. I'll probably get every new edition that comes out.

          http://elug.ca/reviews/learning_perl_5th.shtml

          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          The very best

          By Edward Odonkor

          from Undisclosed

          Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 5th Edition:

          I have read many, but this is my Perl Book last stop, no more other books. It does it for me, the examples are great. I love it

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