Making Easy Things Easy & Hard Things Possible
This is the 4th edition of the popular Learning Perl book by O’Reilly. This book has been just perfect for me as I’m not a Perl programmer and my experience of Perl previously has been just using Perl scripts on websites via CGI and occasionally changing the odd Perl script.
I taught myself PHP by reading the O’Reilly title PHP Web Applications, so I was sure that I could do the same with this Perl title. I was not disappointed, Learning Perl is well laid out with lots of examples and scripts you can actually use.
Learning Perl begins with the basics such as data types, arrays and loops. These first few chapters will give you a good background to the Perl syntax. The following chapters include reading and writing files, hashes and regular expressions. There is also a useful chapter on how to move around and access file directories using Perl code.
The last two chapters of Learning Perl cover Perl Modules and some advanced Perl techniques. Perl Modules are re-usable pieces of Perl code which you can use yourself instead of rewriting code that someone else may have already completed, which will save you a lot of time. The most well known location of these Perl code modules is CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network).
At the end of each chapter in Learning Perl you will find a number of exercises, the answers to all the exercises can be found at the back if the book.
Learning Perl is a great book, definitely a great place to start if you want to learn how to code Perl. If you want to just modify scripts or write your own Perl scripts and either run them on the web as CGI scripts or run them locally on your own machine then Learning Perl is a good introductory book. Learning Perl also makes a good reference book.