"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
"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
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