REVIEW - Official Guide to Programming with


Official Guide to Programming with


Lincoln Stein



John Wiley & Sons (1998)




Dominic Thomas


August 1999


★★☆☆☆ is a perl module that has been included in the perl distribution since version 5.004. It simplifies the monotonous tasks associated with writing Web server CGI scripts, as well as adding functionality for some of the more fancy stuff.

The module is widely regarded as the best tool for writing perl CGI scripts, being powerful, reliable and easy to use. Parameters can be passed via GET, POST, or the command-line (for debugging purposes). Cookies can be set and read with a straightforward function call. Page headers are produced with one line of code and there are functions to produce tables, lists and whatever other formatting you feel like.

Now there's not really a shortage of information on this subject on the Internet. The author (who also wrote the module) has provided some pretty good online documentation to go with it, but there's still a lot to be said for a book, with nice page numbers and a good index, especially if you're reading on the train.

The book assumes knowledge of perl and of the concepts involved in CGI programming, but to be honest, your perl doesn't need to be that good and all the CGI functionality is clearly explained as you're going along.

Even though some of the programming involves some pretty advanced perl, there are sufficient examples to enable you to write code that works, even if you're not entirely sure why.

If what you want is a book that enables you to flick through the index and then jump to a section of the text which will enable you to quickly write a solution to a CGI problem, then with this book, you can do that.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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