"Beginning Perl is a different kind of Perl book. It's written particularly with the beginning programmer in mind, but it doesn't treat you like an idiot, and experienced programmers will not feel patronised. It covers a lot of ground, from the very basics of programming, right through to developing CGI applications for the web. More importantly, it emphasises good Perl practice, and readable and maintainable code."
The introductory book to Perl has traditionally been Learning Perl. However, that book puts more focus on creating command line Unix tools, with topics such as I/O and process management. I chose Beginning Perl because it puts more focus on what a CGI programmer would be looking for: modules, the CGI library, and databases.
The learn.perl.org Web site contains a very comprehensive list if you want to investigate other options.
Last edited by Jeff Mott; 02-14-2007 at 08:22 PM.
Reason: A page I linked to has since been deleted; other cosmetic changes.
O'Reillys Programming Perl is a good next step...and for anyone serious about the fundamentals of programming concepts, Algorithms for Perl covers (o'reilly) is a must read, altho it is a bit much details for those just focusing on basic web apps, but for more complex systems down the line these books are certainly the next place to go...
After reading both 'Beginning Perl' and 'Learning Perl', I can say, from a beginners perspective, that 'Beginning Perl' stands head and shoulders above the other. 'Learning Perl' assumes you have some prior knowledge of programming and if I had started with that book, I would have been completely lost by the 2nd chapter. Only because I read 'Beginning Perl' first was I able to make sense of 'Learning Perl'.
Also, the jokes in 'Learning Perl' are really quite lame and the constant references in the code to the Flintstones grows tiresome real quick. If they used realistic variable names and real case scenarios, plus back off a little on the attempt to be funny, it would be a good book to have. However, Jeff is correct when he mentions that they focus too much on the command line. If that's all you'll be writing for, then it will suffice.
But if you plan on writing for the web, download 'Beginning Perl'. You'll be glad you did. Not only is it free, but Simon Cozens is an excellent writer. I'm hoping that he'll release a new edition. If he does, I'll be first in line!
I was thinking of buying Beginning Perl: From Novice to Professional, by James Lee because it looks very complete. Before I buy though, has anyone here read it? It's a little bit pricey, which I wouldn't mind if it was good, but I don't want to spend the money on it isn't any good. Thumbs up or thumbs down?