John Bokma Perl
freelance Perl programmer

Perl books I recommend

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Below follows a short list of Perl books I recommend. Note that Perl already comes with a lot of documentation when you install it, documentation that might be more actual. You can get an overview of the documentation available on Perl self by typing:

perldoc perl

on the command line or at the shell prompt. Moreover make sure that you learn how to use perldoc itself by studying its manual page:

perldoc perldoc

Note that Perl comes with a FAQ as well, and before you ask for help, for example on Usenet, make sure that your Perl related question is not a frequently asked one.

If you have installed ActivePerl, enter C:\Perl\html\index.html in the address bar of your browser, and make sure you bookmark the page.

If you're serious in studying Perl with the use of real books I recommend to read the book(s) away from the computer at least the first time. If you have the book on your lap behind a computer you might be tempted into trial and error programming, or browsing for a quick solution to your problem. It might look that you have fast results in the beginning, but in the end you might end up guessing what some things do instead of actually understanding them.

Learning Perl, Fourth Edition

Written by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy. Published by O'Reilly.

An excellent book for beginners. Referred to as the Llama book because of the illustration on the cover of the book.

Perl Cookbook, Second Edition

Written by Tom Christiansen, and Nathan Torkington. Published by O'Reilly

I often recommend to buy this book together with Learning Perl. It has plenty of examples, solutions, and ideas to get you started and covers many things not covered in Learning Perl in a way that should be easy to pick up after you've finished the Llama book. A must have for every Perl programmer.

Learning Perl Objects, References, & Modules

Written by By Randal L. Schwartz, with Tom Phoenix. Published by O'Reilly.

Many consider this book the sequel to Learning Perl. It covers objects, references, and modules in an easier way compared to the Cookbook and certainly compared to Programming Perl. This book is now and then referred to as the Alpaca book because of the animal pictured on the cover.

Programming Perl, Third Edition

Written by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant. Published by O'Reilly.

This is certainly not a beginners book. Most chapters are not written for the casual reader. This book needs concentration to be enjoyed to the fullest. A lot of people use it as a reference, but a lot of its reference material is available via perldoc. If you have no idea what perldoc is, type perldoc perldoc at the command line or in a shell and learn to use it.

The book is well over 5 years old and might be outdated here and there. I hope the 4th edition will become available soon, since despite my negative sounding previous paragraph, I do recommend the "Camel" book to the advanced Perl programmer.

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