The 6 best Perl Books

For those who have been in the programming world for a while, Perl isn’t a new heard language. It’s been around since 1987 when Larry Wall designed it. Perl has characteristics of the C language, like the block-like structure. And has been widely adopted for the way in which it processes text, but especially, for not having the limitations other script languages have.

While a lot of people might ask what good does it make to learn such an ancient language in 2019? Well, the answer is simple. First, a lot (and I mean a lot) of companies still use Perl, and the pool of knowers has become more narrow. Second, Perl has all of the tools that you’d expect to see in any modern programming language, it has evolved and it has done so great. And third, when properly learned, Perl can help to problem-solve in a short, efficient way.

If you know Perl and want to perfect your knowledge, or just want to properly learn Perl, these are the books for you.

Learning Perl

  • Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, Brian D. Foy, and Larry Wall bring us what is commonly known as The Llama Book.
  • “Learning Perl” is the book you use when beginning at the language, it is really good at introducing you into the wide world of Perl programming.
  • You should expect to find some basic things in this book, that will later evolve into a little more complex ones.

It contains things such as data and variable types, subroutines, file operations, third-party modules, among others. The thing is, Perl has changed a lot since 1987, and this book is updated and ready to help you. It is written in a way that lets you go as fast or as slow as you want, it perfectly adapts to each programmers capacities.

Want to get started on Perl? This is the book to get.

Perl Pocket Reference: Programming Tools

  • This book is more aimed towards people who already know Perl and seek to solve their questions about it.
  • Brought to us by the same editorial as “Learning Perl”, “Perl Pocket Reference: Programming Tools” by Johan Vromans will help you solve those questions easily and quickly.

It has often been described as an essential tool for anyone who uses Perl language.

This book provides a summary. It guides you through Perl syntax rules and a complete list of operators, built-in functions, and other features.

If you already know how to program Perl and do it often this book is a must.

Perl Cookbook

  • Similarly to Perl Pocket reference, this is another must for those who regularly program in Perl.
  • Written by Tom Christiansen, “Perl Cookbook” will give you reviewed recipes (hence the name) and examples of the multiple applications of Perl.

This is a book that contains a collection, of problems, solutions, and practical examples that range from one-liners to complete applications.

“Perl Cookbook” allows you to see different angles of each Perl features, different ways of writing out arrays, or subroutines, manipulating strings, pattern matching, references, and many, many others.

The book has been updated, and in its second edition, it adapts to the modern challenges Perl programmers face.

Perl Cookbook is a great book when combined with Learning Perl, and can absolutely help you get the whole picture of what this programming language is.

Modern Perl

  • Chromatic brought us “Modern Perl” and he did so in hopes the readers learn how Perl really works.
  • A Perl expert can solve problems in only a couple of code lines, Chromatic attempts to teach us how to do that.

This book is written for novice Perl programmers, who know what Perl is about, but not really. But it is also a great way for old Perl programmers to get out of dubious Perl habits based on outdated knowledge.

The book isn’t really digestible, and it isn’t aimed for beginners either. It is slow and you’ll have to take your time to absorb little by little. Regardless, it is amazing to perfect your knowledge on Perl and will give you tons of examples and useful information on the variety of corners the language has.

Perl Hacks: tips and tools for programming

  • Chromatic is here, again, this time accompanied by Damian Conway and Curtis “Ovid” Poe, to bring us “Perl Hacks: tips and tools for programming”.
  • This book is like a tip compilation.
  • Its main aim is to get Perl programmers to learn the very simple solutions it can provide for complicated problems.

Hacks are shown in the way of short lessons, and what they teach you ranges from essential skills to fun things Perl is able to do. The hacks are divided in two (at least most of them), the solution to a specific problem that needs immediate solving and deeper, subtler technique for you to adapt it into other situations.

After reading this book, you’ll be able to add CPAN shortcuts to the Firefox web browser, read files backward, write graphical games in Perl, and much more.

If you’re a Perl programmer you should definitely check out this book, cause it’ll solve problems you never thought had simple solutions.

Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl

  • Like Chromatic, Joseph Hall brings us a compilation of tips for Perl users.
  • Effective Perl Programming: Ways to Write Better, More Idiomatic Perl will have you finding much better ways to solve problems.

The book ranges all the way from avoiding common pitfalls to using Perl modules properly and efficiently. And it does so including all the years of Perl evolution in order to reflect today’s best idioms.

If you are a Perl programmer, fanatic, novice, whatever. <This is the book that makes the difference between beginners and experts by making your code more idiomatic (or Perlish as Perl coders like to say).

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