Learning Perl, 2nd Edition
Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible
By Tom Christiansen, Randal L. Schwartz
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 1997
Pages: 300

In this update of a bestseller, two leading Perl trainers teach you to use the most universal scripting language in the age of the World Wide Web. With a foreword by Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, this smooth, carefully paced book is the "official" guide for both formal (classroom) and informal learning. It is now current for Perl version 5.004..

Learning Perl is a hands-on tutorial designed to get you writing useful Perl scripts as quickly as possible. Exercises (with complete solutions) accompany each chapter. A lengthy new chapter in this edition introduces you to CGI programming, while touching also on the use of library modules, references, and Perl's object-oriented constructs.

Perl is a language for easily manipulating text, files, and processes. It comes standard on most UNIX platforms and is available free of charge on all other important operating systems. Perl technical support is informally available -- often within minutes -- from a pool of experts who monitor a USENET newsgroup (comp.lang.perl.misc) with tens of thousands of readers.

Contents include:

  • A quick tutorial stroll through Perl basics
  • Systematic, topic-by-topic coverage of Perl's broad capabilities
  • Lots of brief code examples
  • Programming exercises for each topic, with fully worked-out answers
  • How to execute system commands from your Perl program
  • How to manage DBM databases using Perl
  • An introduction to CGI programming for the Web
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oreillyLearning Perl, 2nd Edition

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Fred Flinstones may not REALLY caved in with email programs.

By Nickname: Ex. Jim the Runner

from Twanrung Housing Dev., Bangkok, Thailand

About Me Developer, Sys Admin

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Timtody


  • Not comprehensive enough
  • Pedagogy
  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 2nd Edition:

I got this book as a soft introduction to Perl prior to taking a CS100 class for four collage credits in senior high school. I was thrilled because I know these beginner books are fun and games to read and no work. I was very ignorant in software patterns during those years I enrolled in AP. I had some PASCAL, and PowerBASIC experience from coding a vertex shader in BASIC, and as a had wrote artillery-firing games to play with other boys. So in a nutshell, I played in isolation to mostly action-oriented code, and had no idea what a glue language would take away my innocence for me.

From cover, to cover, I had thought Alpacas are cute, but regretfully had no clue who the Flintstones were at that time, so this was entirely new to me.

At the time I knew the book was about the Flintstones. I do not worry about the ontological incorrectness of the Flintstones back in my callow years. However, I had just finished another iconoclastic book of the era, "Calculus for the Managerial, Life, and Social Sciences" (So I mislead myself that life was full of free lunches). All fun and no work. Or so I thought. Oh, really.

Seventeen years later and with grey hair on my head, I still fondly remember how many times Barney Flintstone had to change her passwords ("she changed them a lot") and how their intranet email program, which I implemented in Windows ME, had brought me smiles on a UNIX server. So, I was young ounce, and that was from a time and from a world (third world), where Python was not as accessible. So, if you want to grow old with smiles and if you don't need sleep with Python in your country or in collage. Then, here, this is looking at you, kids.

Even though the our lama's lemma, TIMTOWTDI seems to contradict TINSTAFL, this author (Randal L. Schwartz), did not seem to just come out and say, "Now that I made easy things easy, hard things will be impossible!"

It is my personal opinion that if you are going to program professionally at some point (but I do not, I prefers piece-wise development and paid software contacts), you would want to start with the Camel Book (ISBN: 978-0-596-00492-7).

If you want to read how the Flinstones came out of the caves and finally code their email program with your help, then you'd be better off with this lama.

BTW: On Windows, Coding depends on the API. And for high-level tasks in this paradigm, some specific IDE had to be used for the client's reason. I still use Perl to glue together my RAD scripts for Mac. Sometimes, when I want do do RAD for computing something in-house, a few lines of Perl and Basic came into my head. This book got me hooked. Maybe this would make a nice book for young programmers, then old Fred Flinstones can teach them programming too!

I rated this book as 3/5 stars with a bonus readers discretion point for having the right stuff, with age-appropriate presentation, despite being caved-in with anachorisms in a python-infested world.

For myself had not and would never read this book again. Instead, I picked up several editions of the Camel Book. IFF I had another chance to be learn to be an adult again, I would start with the Camel the right way.

Do for yourself some Perl poetry.



By bad review

from non of your buisness



    • Difficult to understand
    • Not comprehensive enough
    • Too basic
    • Too many errors

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 2nd Edition:

      hard to read


      Learning Perl, 2nd Edition Review

      By Walt Johnston

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 2nd Edition:

      I have found the forewords in all my O'Reilly books very worthwhile including this one. The first chapter ( A Stroll Through Perl) is enough to get you doing some serious and useful work. If you have any programming experience this chapter alone could be all you need.

      I use the rest of the book as a reference and an invaluable one. "Learning Perl" sounds like it's meant for beginners, but this book is meaty enough to carry you much farther.

      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


      Learning Perl, 2nd Edition Review

      By Aaron Tong

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 2nd Edition:

      I am now a little bit embarrassed to speak in favour of the book. As an amateur developer describing true masters of programming, I think the exercises are not so bad. In fact, they are quite inspiring.

      Iam now halfway through the book at around chapter 7. If you really take it serious, you can always find that what you're already taught should have enabled you to complete the exercise. (Though the material may not in exactly the same chapter, definitely it must have been covered.)

      Perl is difficult. I do not deny that. It is because it has an underlying philosophy "There any many ways to do the same thing. I like my way, yet I don't claim mine to be THE best way." Thus it cannot be treated in the same way as some simple and structured language, like Pascal. Yet the book step by step dissects the language in an elegant way. If you have a programming background in any language, you should have no difficultly to follow through.

      As long as the code is easy to read and it is straight to the point, I don't mind someone putting short statements together with multiple colons. Come'on, guys, we are not doing Cobol on 80-column punched cards.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


      Learning Perl, 2nd Edition Review

      By Jon DeCamp

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 2nd Edition:


      I am just finishing up with Learning Perl and am very dissapointed. I expected this book to be aimed for beginners, and to be well written. You can't expect someone new to fill in the blanks themselves, but Mr. Schwartz does.

      The most exciting part about having a "Learning" book is that it comes with Exersises at the end of the chapters. These exersises are lame, to be blunt. They aren't explained well enough, and the chapters preceding them don't give you all the knowledge to complete them.

      The worst part is the answers at the end of the chapters where Mr. Schwartz has the ability to make you feel like you've learned nothing. He'll write the code (That you must match your code to) using techniques that he never teaches, and using bad techniques as well (command; command; command; [Look, one line of code!). On one he even says, "Yes, this one needs some explaining." But never explains! It needed explaining because there were way too many things there not mentioned in the chapter/book.

      There are frequent code-flaws in his examples throughout the pages.

      Be warned. If you must learn Perl, then you'll need to buy more than just this book. If you know nothing about programming, or shell scripting, then I'm afraid that this book could become too difficult.


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