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Extending and Embedding Perlby cmilfo (Hermit)
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Item Description: From Manning, "Extending and Embedding Perl explains how to expand the functionality and usefulness of the Perl programming language and how to use Perl from C programs."
Review Synopsis: This book was indispensable in gaining a good foot-hold on using Perl in, from, and around C.
Extending and Embedding Perl
Review By Brandon Willis
What's that up your sleeve?
What's in it?
After building a very specific foundation of simple C examples, module building, and some XS, the text returns to C to introduce pointers, arrays, file I/O and memory management. With these new skills we begin to explore the structure and implementation of Perl variable types. Chapter 4 provides many useful diagrams of how Perl variables appear and into which C structures they translate.
Still following a logical and constant order, we explore the Perl 5 API, learning how to post and retrieve information to the variable types explored in the previous chapter. As much as it might seem, this is not a rehash of the perlapi doc. It is consistent with the perlapi doc, but Jenness and Cozens provide extensively annotated C code examples.
Casting deeper still, we add the advanced C of pointers, arrays, file I/O and memory management to our knowledge of XS. At this point we have everything we need to effectively extend Perl, but the text continues deeper still by exploring how XSUB interfaces to Perl's internals. It is only the clearly documented, step by step explanations of this chapter that make it manageable for an average user like myself. Chapter 7 ends our stint with XS by discussing some alternative XS (or equivalent code) generation suites.
Switching gears entirely, we grab libperl.a and stuff into a C program. Chapter 8 begins the task of embedding Perl into a C program. Jenness and Cozens continue the embedded discussion through a Case Study in Chapter 9 and end with a look through the Perl internals in Chapter 10.
The final chapter (Chapter 11) details some of Perl's history, its development process, how we could become involved and what the future of Perl and Perl 6 may entail.