REVIEW - Active Perl Developer's Guide


Active Perl Developer's Guide


Martin Brown




McGraw-Hill ()




Joe McCool


October 2001



a serious contender in an otherwise overcrowded market place

If you are programming in Perl on a Windows platform, then you will certainly be familiar with ActiveState ( It is from there that one can download the complete Perl programming suite for free. ActiveState also supply commercial products to help with Perl programming; integrated development tools, graphical debuggers and so on. Those of us working under Unix will be familiar with CPAN and the process of down loading Perl modules from there (follow the link from ActiveState provide a Perl Package Manager to reduce the pain of all this.

Hence the title of Martin Brown's book. He is concerned very much with ActiveState's products and with programming under Windows. This is very useful. Perl has sprung from the UNIX tradition and moving to windows can be a frustrating experience and he devotes a lot of space to help overcome this. (He also notes the further differences programming under NT.) A short chapter and a fairly comprehensive appendix are devoted to the migration from Visual Basic to Perl, with a list of VB functions and their equivalent in Perl. Again, this is quite useful.

Brown then, is not concerned with teaching Perl - indeed the text is not peppered with code, nor is there much working through of examples. He assumes a certain basic familiarity. He is more concerned with the peculiarities and advantages of working under Windows.

I'd be worried about the index, which seems sparse on Perl's special variables ($, @), etc. I'd be careful about printing errors. There are certainly some on the back cover and on the list of contents. Other than that, this seems a serious contender in an otherwise overcrowded market place.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.