A collection of anti-Perl quotes, memes and images
Monday, 10 February by David Farrell
The second edition of Mastering Perl by brian d foy has just been published by O'Reilly. We took a look at the new version to see what's changed and to find out what it really means to become a Perl master.
Perl is a deceptively deep language: a novice can be productive in Perl within minutes, yet it takes years of practice to understand all of Perl's features and shortcomings. brian d foy knows this, and he prefaces Mastering Perl with the explanation that the journey to mastery will involve self-study and experimentation, and working with and learning from many different Perl programmers. What follows in the book is a tour-de-force of advanced Perl programming subjects intended to set the reader on the road to mastery and equip them with the knowledge they need to advance their own skills further.
Mastering Perl covers a lot of ground and you can find a complete listing of chapters here. In every chapter I learned something useful, amazing or just plain cool about Perl. There were too many to mention them all, but a few highlights for me were:
Mastering Perl is also a pleasure to read: brian d foy's writing style is light hearted but professional, opinionated but reasoned. There is a good balance between code and words: concepts are introduced and explained without verbose prose and often the code examples do the talking.
Every chapter is self-contained: you won't find yourself thumbing back through previous chapters to understand concepts discussed later in the book. And because of it's modular structure, you can dive into the topics that interest you most and return to the remainder later on.
The content of the new edition has been refreshed and beefed-up; it's about 50 pages longer than the first time around. Every chapter has been updated and several have been extensively revised. A complete list of changes is available however the chapters with the most changes are:
The covers for the first and second editions are shown above. Style-wise O'Reilly has given Mastering Perl a spring clean. The cover title lettering has changed from Garamond to URW Typewriter, and the family of vicuñas has undergone a North Korean-style airbrushing, with the (presumably) troublesome second fawn removed entirely. I like the new cover, it feels cleaner and more modern but stays faithful to the Perl tradition with the blue background and camel-related animal on the cover. Beyond the cover, the book's pages have not changed in style at all, with the same fonts and spacing used throughout.
Mastering Perl is enjoyable, informative and a worthy successor to Intermediate Perl. It equips the reader with a whole host of advanced tools and approaches for doing more with Perl now, whilst opening the doorway towards true language mastery.
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