Mastering Perl

This is a book I was really looking forward too. The author is a well respected Perl instructor and the book is the third in a series of well known and popular Perl learning books. A book on an advanced topic is a relatively rare event and a new advanced Perl books is always welcome.

Personally I did not like this book at all. It is quite possible that you would like the book as the reasons I didn't like it are very personal.

The style of the book was not to my taste at all. It is written in the active voice, which I found highly annoying in a technical book. I know that brian publishes articles in "The Perl Review" in this style and I do not like them there either, however they are tolerable in shorter articles, in a full book it is very irritating and I just do not like it.

The second problem with the book is the content. Before you buy the book look at the content carefully, it may be that the selection will suit you. The book is quite slim and it is hard to pick content for a more advanced Perl book as there is so much material available, as a result the actual content may or may not be of interest to you. In my case I did not find the content particularly interesting or useful. I believe that the content is fine but I did not find much that I had not already read elsewhere.

This is not a good or bad book. It is a book that you must have a look at before you buy it. The publisher makes the table of contents available and I would strongly suggest reading it and the sample content before buying this book. A quick summary of the sections follows:

  • Introduction (5 pages)
  • Advanced Regular Expressions (22 pages)
  • Secure Programming Techniques (13 pages)
  • Debugging Perl (19 pages)
  • Profiling Perl (19 pages)
  • Benchmarking Perl (19 pages)
  • Cleaning Up Perl (12 pages)
  • Symbol Tables and Typeglobs (12 pages)
  • Dynamic Subroutines (18 pages)
  • Modifying and Jury Rigging Modules (13 pages)
  • Configuring Perl Programms (20 pages)
  • Detecting and Peporting Errors (16 pages)
  • Logging (7 pages)
  • Data Persistence (15 pages)
  • Working with POD (12 pages)
  • Working with Bits (17 pages)
  • The Magic of Tied Variables (22 pages)
  • Modules As Programs (10 pages)

A lot of the content is covered in other O'Reilly books to a far greater depth. This is not a book for experienced Perl programmers, it is a book for programmers with intermediate experience attempting to improve their Perl skill level. It may or may not prove useful to you, check the book, before you buy it.