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How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.

by techcode (Hermit)
on Oct 06, 2005 at 12:53 UTC ( #497907=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

As someone who hasn't been using some Unix style operating system much before (Just Amiga OS/Workbench and Windows - recently started with Linux) I'm not too used on reading documentation that comes with programs. And even when I did - it was usually crap.

Even using Perl for freelance web development for the past ~3 years didn't help much with that. I guess I assumed that it's documentation is like any other.

And exception to that was perltoot - I stumbled upon it somewhere on Internet while I was searching for Perl OOP Tutorial.

Either way, recently I got some spare time and I gave a chance to Perl's documentation. Downloaded from Internet, in compiled HTML (chm) file type. Maybe reading JAVA built-in docs (needed something for University, and that was only thing about JAVA handy) added to it.

Revelation !

But honestly - I didn't realise so far that Perl's built in documentation is so good. Way better than Java's. Way better than any documentation that I saw before ...

Oh now I feel bad for not taking a look at it before!

Have you tried freelancing? Check out Scriptlance - I work there.
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Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Oct 06, 2005 at 13:02 UTC

    I learned perl from the standard pod and example code. Once I learned enough syntax to do some damage, my favorite strategy was to review the first parts of perlfunc once a week or so. A good notion of what builtin names are available and what they apply to is a great help.

    After Compline,

Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by ghenry (Vicar) on Oct 06, 2005 at 13:09 UTC

    Update: If you need to read it online and not in the chm format:

    You can even download the whole lot in PDF format, as shown on the front page.

    Walking the road to enlightenment... I found a penguin and a camel on the way.....
    Fancy a Just ask!!!

      Thanks for posting this, ghenry. Even though the docs are bundled, I really like's formatting and find myself perusing the online version often. For those rare cases when I'm not online, now I'll take my favorite with me. :-)

Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by pg (Canon) on Oct 06, 2005 at 15:10 UTC
    "Way better than Java's. Way better than any documentation that I saw before ..."

    It is more close to reality and fair to put it in this way: If we are talking about the document for each module, Java's is better than Perl's in most cases; but Java lacks the kind of documentation like perltoot, perlfaq etc., which put things together for you.

    When you read Java document, you may get a very clear picture of what the module is doing but it does not usually contain information as how to use the module in an application with other related modules.

    However, the other side of the life is that, there are big knowledge bases for both languages on internet and in book stores beyond pure documentation.

Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by Hue-Bond (Priest) on Oct 06, 2005 at 19:19 UTC

    On a Unix, one can do man -Tps perlref > and get documentation in postscript format. Then one can scale that down in order to save some trees (using pstops for instance) and print it on both sides (to save more trees). Then one can bind it and read it instead of novels when going to work or back.

    That's what I did. My journeys to/from work will no longer be the same.

    David Serrano

Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by blazar (Canon) on Oct 06, 2005 at 14:52 UTC
    My first steps into the world of Perl were greately aided by the friends of clpmisc. As I asked what in fact were faqs, they pointed me perldoc -q whatever, and then to relevant perldoc entries, and it didn't take long get addicted to perl's documentation. Occasionally under Windows I check AS's HTMLized version, but the cli is my preferred entry point to it...
Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by davido (Cardinal) on Oct 07, 2005 at 06:33 UTC

    I read the Llama book, Learning Perl. Then I started in on the Camel book, Programming Perl. But on first reading, I got a little hung up with references and objects. Following a path of lesser resistance and greater interest, I picked up the Owls book, Mastering Regular Expressions. I really got into that book; it was fascenating to me for some reason.

    Then I started digging around for additional information on objects and references. That's when I really got interested in the POD. I uploaded the complete POD in HTML format to my Sharp Zaurus PDA, and for a week or two took that thing everywhere, reading whenever I had a spare moment. I didn't stop until I had read all of it, except for the platform-specific documents. I didn't understand all of it (especially the internals stuff, especially the first time through), but from that point on, the POD became my primary reference. Though it has its quirks, I have to say Perl's POD is one of its best attributes. I refer back to it almost daily.

    Since then, I've read a lot of other Perl books and other peripherally related books, but I keep going back to the POD as the most up-to-date and authoritative place to go to get my questions answered.

    I would assert that you haven't learned Perl until you've really become acquainted with its POD.


Re: How I started reading Perl's (builtin) documentation.
by ady (Deacon) on Oct 07, 2005 at 05:39 UTC
    From which URL did you grab the perldoc in .chm format ?
    best regards
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