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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Mastering Algorithms with Perl
Author:
Jon Orwant
ISBN:
1 56592 398 7
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
680pp
Price:
£23-50
Reviewer:
Jon Wilks
Subject:
perl;algorithms
Appeared in:
12-2
If you are a serious Perl programmer and are looking to improve your skills, should you buy this book on algorithms? If you have ever studied algorithms and data structures then balanced trees and O(N) notation may still be a painful memory. Also, part of Perl's strength is in its built in parsing and sorting features so why would you need to know otherways of doing the same job? If your work does not challenge Perl's features then you probably do not. However, should you have no computer science background and Perl is your language of choice then this book requires serious consideration.

The book is concise and at the standard you would expect from O'Reilly. The advice given in concepts like choosing an appropriate data structure or in benchmarking your program is actually quite sound. It covers a wide area for example sorting, searching, sets and matrices together with material you may not find in a data structures book like geometry, cryptography and statistics. Most chapters refer to the CPAN where relevant modules may exist.

Your choice depends on the task at hand. If you fancy a Perl book where you can find routines to encrypt a string or find the maximum distance between two points then this book will not disappoint. Indeed, I believe that anyone serious about his or her trade would benefit greatly from Computer Science study. However if you still have that copy of Tenenbaum on the shelf then perhaps O'Reilly's 'Perl Cookbook' may prove a better choice.