REVIEW - The Perl 5 Programmer's Reference


The Perl 5 Programmer's Reference


R Allen Wyke&Luke Duncan




Ventana ()




Jon Wilks


August 1998



My first thought on this book was to ask the point of it. I have a much-thumbed copy of Larry Wall's Programming Perl (affectionately known as the 'camel' book) complete with post-it notes placed at the chapters I refer to most. Is The Perl 5 Programmer's Reference worth the money for the same information in an expanded and undoubtedly more accessible form?

Well one thing the book does not have is any tutorial or description to the Perl syntax so I cannot recommend it as a first step to learning Perl. Likewise those looking for advanced instruction to Perl references and objects would be wasting their time. This book then lists all the built in functions, formats and regular expressions; all the things you would typically find in the 'camel' book. This in an easy to find manner, clearly indicating its syntax, usage and compatibility with Perl 4.

The CD contains the source of Perl 5 (release 4.1), some of the modules described in the appendixes and has the ActiveWare version for Windows 95/NT. A nice touch is that the whole book is also available as HTML files on the CD so you can also use your browser to search the book. A downside is that those of us who write for DOS or Windows 3.1 may have trouble accessing some of the directories on the CD that have long names.

My conclusion is that if you are a regular Perl user then the book is a nice addition to your shelf but you could live without it if you had the 'camel' book, a post-it pad and access to

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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