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[MacPerl] O'Reilly Perl books and learning Perl

Learning Perl - Llama
Programming Perl - Camel
Perl Cookbook - Bighorn Sheep

I first bought Learning Perl and had it for about 4 days before I picked up
Programming Perl. The Learning Perl is an excellent book introduction but I
was soon looking for the indepth explanation of advanced features that
Programming Perl gave. I debated the Perl Cookbook for about week before I
finally bough it - the sample scripts are very straightforward without the
extra clutter that scripts you find on the net often have. It has an
excellent HTML template script for replacing placeholders in a text file
and sending it to the user - I've used it for many pages in our site and
it's much more effective than trying to manually print the HTML code from
the script.

I've been very impressed with all 3 Perl books form O'Reilly except that
they don't have much CGI-specific content. Granted most of the material is
still applicable but stuff like SSI and environment variables are barely
covered, if at all. Still, I think those books should be a standard for any
Perl programmer.

I've only been programming in Perl for few months but what I've found works
best for learning it is to start with very simple and straight forward
goals for your programs and gradually build them. Programming in a modular
fashion using subroutines allows you to add the more advanced features to
your program as it evolves.

Someone mentioned that when you use ready-made scripts off the net you
often waste time cleaning them up so they work for you. I agree
wholeheartedly - if I am going to use something someone else wrote, I want
it to be the simplest, quickest way of doing a task with no extra code.
I've got myself a bunch of standard subroutines that I use in almost every
program for receiving form data from a web page, removing special
characters from text input, saving data to a text file, and outputting data
into an HTML template. Most of my programming time is spent changing
variable names from old program code to fit my current project. Absolutely,
think modularly!

 David Wadson (wadsond@air.on.ca)
    Composing Room Foreman &
 Coordinator of Graphic Services
      The Chronicle-Journal
  Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada


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