in reply to Why did you become a Perl expert (or programmer)?

Perl was my first real programming language. I had been getting to grips with front-end web development (HTML, CSS and Javascript) for about a year and half then around May 2000 I was reading "Dreamweaver 3 Bible" trying to advance my search and replace skills. At the end of the relevant chapter was a short introduction to advanced search and replace using regular expressions followed by a reference to Jeffrey Friedl's "Mastering Regular Expressions". That short introduction to regexen in "Dreamweaver 3 Bible" lit a fire. Since childhood I've always been fascinated by secret languages, especially concise, mathematical codes. I first came across algebra in my dad's Encyclopedia Brittanica years before I encountered maths. at school. Regular expressions looked magical and powerful so I tracked-down a copy of Friedl at one of London's many libraries. As I read the book from cover to cover it quickly became apparent that not only was Friedl a Perlmeister but the book emphasised the primacy of Perl as the programming language for wielding regexen. "Mastering Regular Expressions" was also part of the O'Reilly Perl library which quickly led me to Larry Wall's "Programming Perl". Those 2 books not only introduced me to Perl but they are also extremely well-written books which continue to inspire me to this day when I dip into them from time to time. Perl was very popular when I encountered it in the Spring of 2000. Lincoln Stein's was widely used and after I learned how to use MySQL I had 2 new super-powers. I've since developed a passion for several other languages, notably Clojure and Ruby, but Perl will always have a special place in my life.