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Which Book

by Upstairs (Novice)
on Sep 01, 2007 at 22:34 UTC ( #636545=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Upstairs has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

If you were allowed only one Perl book. Which would it be: 'Programming Perl', 'Learning Perl', 'Perl Cookbook', 'Mastering Algorithms with Perl' or 'Perl 5 for Dummies'?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Which Book
by kyle (Abbot) on Sep 01, 2007 at 22:43 UTC

    See If I could only own one Perl book, it would be:

    I don't see Perl 5 for Dummies or Mastering Algorithms with Perl in the poll, but it's still a good collective answer—and discussion—of the question you're asking.

    I have a special place in my heart for Perl 5 for Dummies, but nothing would beat the Camel book for me.

      Sorry, I missed the poll. Thanks. So I'll be getting a 1992 Camel book. It seems right for my level.

        If you mean the first edition (aka the pink camel), described in 1991 as "an authoritative guide to the hottest new UNIX utility in years", you'll be about 15 years behind the curve. Though a wonderful and treasured historical work, this first edition describes a Perl without references, without modules, from a prehistoric era before the CPAN roamed the Earth. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to buy the latest third edition instead.

Re: Which Book
by FunkyMonk (Chancellor) on Sep 01, 2007 at 22:55 UTC
    I haven't seen two of those books (Mastering Algorithms & Perl for Dummies), but I own the other three. Out of those three, I would have to choose the Cookbook.

    I was an experienced programmer before I saw any Perl. I started learning Perl when I couldn't put up with the difficiencies of AWK any longer. I had previous experience of C and bash so there was a lot of Perl I was familier with (and lots more I wasn't). The Perl Cookbook was a book I could dip into, and learn what I needed to learn, without being bogged down being told things I already knew.

    Every learner is different and the Cookbook was spot on for this learner.

Re: Which Book
by dwhite20899 (Friar) on Sep 02, 2007 at 00:23 UTC
    I live and breathe with the Perl CD Bookshelf which contains Perl in a Nutshell, Mastering Regular Expressions, Learning Perl, Programming Perl, Learning Perl Objects and the Perl Cookbook digitally (and searchable, too) wrapped up with a paperback version of Perl in a Nutshell.

    (Version 3 was better for me, with the XML titles; YMMV.)

      The only problem with the Perl CD Bookshelf is that newer versions don't include the Mastering Perl/Tk book on the CD anymore. I was going to upgrade mine until I noticed that. If they've added it back in again I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

      Revolution. Today, 3 O'Clock. Meet behind the monkey bars.

      I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code

Re: Which Book
by cog (Parson) on Sep 01, 2007 at 22:47 UTC
Re: Which Book
by GrandFather (Saint) on Sep 01, 2007 at 23:01 UTC

    "Perl Pocket Reference"

    Most of the books mentioned by the OP are good (or excellent) for learning Perl at various levels, but they are not books that are likely to be consulted frequently over a long period of time. In addition, there are plenty of resources on line for learning and extending your knowledge of Perl so it could be argued that the books mentioned are less essential than a quick reference for checking syntax, semantics and parameter order.

    DWIM is Perl's answer to Gödel
Re: Which Book
by bruceb3 (Pilgrim) on Sep 02, 2007 at 07:56 UTC
    There is little need to buy a book on Perl. The documentation that comes with Perl is top quality. Hopefully the documentation for Perl 6 will be of similar quality when it is released.
      I heartily agree with you that the documentation available online for Perl is top notch. But I would still recommend buying some books. Books tend to explain approaches and techniques in a way that seldom appears online. I use online docs for reference, but books and Perl monks for expanding my skills.


Re: Which Book
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Sep 01, 2007 at 23:19 UTC

    Depends on what you're after but you don't have to stop with one. Most of them have been in print so long you can pick up used copies inexpensively. Also, Perl Black Book is underrated (under-known?) and to some degree represents a cross between the Ram and the Camel. It presents each part/function/issue, more or less, as stories which is a great XP technique for approaching problems, even the problem of learning.

Re: Which Book
by technojosh (Priest) on Sep 02, 2007 at 12:00 UTC
    The last place I worked had a whole bunch of Perl books, the one I always used was 'Perl 5 for dummies'

    That said, I find most of my help online these days.

Re: Which Book
by ww (Archbishop) on Sep 04, 2007 at 16:56 UTC
    Without intending to deprecate your question, were I allowed to own only one Perl book ...

    I'd be in deep trouble!

    clinton's point captures much of my reasoning, but FWIW, it took a book not mentioned, SAMS' "Perl Developer's Directory" to offer an explanation I could comprehend/grok/absorb of a point covered all too briefly (for me) in the docs and the (generally excellent) O'Reilly series.

    We tend to think of TIMTOWTDI as applied to coding, but it also applies to learning.
Re: Which Book
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 02, 2007 at 07:47 UTC

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