REVIEW - Elements of Programming with Perl


Elements of Programming with Perl


Andrew L. Johnson



Manning Publications Company (2000)




Joe McCool


August 2001



YANPB - yet another Perl book! It will struggle in the market place to compete against what is already out there.

I am not an expert on Perl, but I really love the language and use it more and more. I find it so flexible. The syntax is elegant and development time, for simple projects, is greatly reduced over programming in C. I have read a lot and this text almost from cover to cover.

I've read it in bed and on the train. It is light going. Like a lot of books on Perl, the section on debugging is particularly light. That on Perl modules, their downloading and installation is little better, although the latter did help me to download from CPAN a module for sending emails. In 330 pages Johnson tries to cover everything from CGI coding to OOP.

So if I am to recommend it at all, it is to beginners who might just want another angle on the subject, as an alternative to those already out there. Also, if one is interested in Perl documentation and POD (documentation mark up language within source code), it might be worth considering. I have not found these subjects particularly well covered in any book on Perl.

The index too, so vital for any book on programming, can only be described as average. Try for example to find out how to delete a file. There is no entry under d, nor is there an entry under e, for erase. How are beginners coming probably from a DOS background to guess that the command is unlink?

There are some annoying spelling mistakes, which might reflect the product team's ignorance of spelling checkers.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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