Title: Programming Perl, 2nd Edition Author: Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen & Randal L. Schwartz Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates Pages: 670 Price: US $39.95, Can. $56.95 (soft-bound) ISBN: 1-56592-149-6 Audience: perl programmers Rating: A
Tom Christiansen refers to this as "the boy book" (it's blue, while the first edition was pink). Changing the color was appropriate because this is really a new book, and a far better one than the original. Beyond merely (sic) rewriting the book, the authors also added coverage of perl5.
This tour de force is an in-depth, top to bottom encyclopedia of perl from those who know it best - Larry wrote it, and Tom and Randall are some of the best-known perl gurus around. If you are looking for a gentle introduction to perl, try O'Reilly's _Learning Perl_ instead.
Though the writing is witty, it's not chatty. There's a lot of information here, presented here in the best UNIX style. The overview chapter starts off in a gentle manner, but soon you are knee-deep in The Gory Details of everything from regular expressions to associative arrays. Coverage of functions is much improved.
Gone are the ``Common Tasks'' and ``Real Programs'' chapters of the previous book - both good ideas but they somehow never contained what I needed. Welcome additions include in-depth coverage of packages, modules and libraries. The much expanded ``Other Oddments'' and ``Diagnostics'' chapters are required reading, especially ``Universal Blunders'' and ``Frequently Ignored Advice''.
Real perl programmers will want this book.
Copyright 1998 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.