Perl Reference books
 


Motivation: Perl References and Documentation

 


Deitel Deitel Nieto and McPhie - has a sing-song, lawyerish ring to it; but these writers are awfully good at what they do - software training courses at an upscale price but well packaged and at high performance level. Reading a Deitel is somewhat like being at an AA meeting - you have to buy into their approach; but if you do their are some substantial learning rewards. For example, all of their books are filled with small tips or out of the flow comments in a series of categories:
Good programming practices - useful standards tips
Software engineering practices - how to fit into a development process
Performance tips - always welcome and helpful
Portability tips - valuable cross platform warnings and advice
Look and feel observations - GUI design advice
Testing and debugging tips - valuable in world of test first development
Common programming errors - warnings worth heeding.
The Perl Training course abounds with these tips and tricks. This reviewer find such tips helpful when new to and just learning a language or system; sometimes tedious when already familiar with a language. But the book is also Deitel comprehensive - covering Perl all aspects of the language to the intermediate to early advanced level. As well, the included CD provides the AMP of LAMP - Apache web server, MySQL database and Perl modules - conveniently in one place including thorough install instructions. The CD has 18 hours of audio material that walks users through hundreds of different programming exercises. This audio instructional material puts some topics like text/string/regular expression syntax in a new perspective. At $110 list ($77 at Amazon) Deitel is not inexpensive; However there are CDs with all the books plus software plus test quizzes - you get what you pay for.
   

Perl 6 Essentials - O'Reilly Press. Not one but three major web programming languages( Perl,PHP, and Python)are at a crossroads as all try to make a major transition to wider acceptance in the marketplace with major revisions. But developers, already steeped to the gills with .NET, J2EE, XML and other learning tasks - will watch these program upgrades with care. They have already seen with VB.NET and Java AWT to Swing to SWT some of the anguish of rapid software tool change. So the Perl 5 to 6 overhaul is a risky business. Neither dBase nor Paradox made the transition from desktop, client server databases to the Web and n-tier databases. So Perl users will not be just a little bit interested in Perl 6 Essentials written by core members of the development team: Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, Leopold Totsch.

True if you scour the Web you can find articles here and there about Perl 6 or Parrot, the new bytecode interpreter engine that will execute Perl 6 modules. But nothing lays out the history and design thinking behind Perl 6 as well as key players. After describing the key design goals, the authors describe the syntax of Perl 6 deferring only on some final object syntax. Interaction between scalars, arrays, hashes and objects has been clarified. As well, new control flow variations in the switch clause allow for more flexibility.

The last half of the book is devoted to Parrot, the new Perl VM. First we find about the design and internals of Parrot including the breakout of tasks between the Parse, Compiler, Optimizer and Interpreter. Then we get a full tourof Parrot Assembly Language followed by a detailed explanation of how PASM is optimized. In sum, progress on Perl 6 will be measured by the beta status of Parrot as much as Perl itself. Missing from the book is a discussion of backward Perl 5 compataibility, detailed security architecture and syntax for asynchronous processing. In sum, Perl 6 looks a year or two away.

 
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