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Perl.org: Review: Elements of Programming with Perl

Jan 23, 2000, 16:40 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David H. Adler)

"Well, it's finally happened: People are starting to realize that maybe you can teach programming using Perl. There are books just out or coming very soon that teach Perl to non-programmers. Even the venerable Learning Perl, it is rumored, is to be revised along those lines in its next edition. Still, the credit for the first book to attempt this has to go to Andrew L. Johnson and Manning Publications for "Elements of Programming with Perl". Granted, there have been a number of books along the lines of "How-to Learn Perl5 in 24 Seconds Unleashed for Imbeciles", but the reputation of these books in the Perl community is, to be kind, poor. It seems quite clear that Johnson's is the first book that you would want to actually recommend to those people who say "I've heard about this 'pearl' thing, where can I learn more" without worrying that they'll have to be entirely retrained afterwards."

"One can never be entirely sure how low-level an explanation needs to be for a given person - One is reminded of the User Friendly strip wherein a customer is asked "What email software are you using" and responds "Don't get all technical with me!" Nevertheless, Johnson does a good job of presenting the basics. In fact, the only problem the book may have is when it gets into more advanced topics (more on that later)."

"After a short intro to both programming and Perl, the book moves immediately on to structure and style. Good idea: Start the reader off on the right foot, not getting into bad coding habits that will have to be unlearned later. In particular, we are introduced to the use of comments, warnings and the strict pragma - some of the Perl programmer's best friends in creating good code."

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