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the Llama book
by Randal L Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

My first experience with Perl was via the Llama book. I was taking some C++ classes at the time, but I wasn't really happy with some of the "features" of C, like having to keep track of my array sizes. Am I a programmer, or a bean counter? So, I decided to seek out something Different, to supplement my learning.

Upon opening the Llama book, I found a rather bizarre forward by Larry Wall. I got a good laugh out of it, but it also made me a little nervous. Isn't programming at least a little bit serious? But, it is only the forward, after all.

Entering chapter one, "Introduction," my worries were quickly dispelled. My background was mainly in BASIC on the Apple and ASIC on DOS, and I quickly found a new thing to be concerned about. What was being described was easier, was more natural than basic! This can't be efficient, can it? Little did I know...

From there I was taken on a pleasant stroll through scalars and arrays, control structures, hashes, basic I/O, regular expressions, functions, filehandles, and onward all the way to CGI. I found this journey to be very easy, and well planned.

For somebody new to perl, I would give this book my highest recommendation. In just a few weeks, I was able to write more clear, concise programs than I have ever been able to write in C. I found it to provide a solid foundation, so that I was completely prepared to dive into perldoc to answer the rest of my basic and intermediate questions.