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Learning Perl

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,837 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Learning Perl, better known as "the Llama book", starts the programmer on the way to mastery. Written by three prominent members of the Perl community who each have several years of experience teaching Perl around the world, this edition has been updated to account for all the recent changes to the language up to Perl 5.8.

Perl is the language for people who want to get wor
Paperback, 4th Edition, 312 pages
Published July 21st 2005 by O'Reilly Media (first published November 1993)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,837 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
There's this old geek joke where you compare programming languages and cars (Assembler would be a Formula 1 racer, LISP would be an electric car, etc). Here's Perl:

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Nick Black
read this back at CNN in 1999. i've refused to read or write perl since then, and it's done me nothing but good. ...more
James Swenson
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the way to start writing Perl: quick and painless.

Start on page one, where the authors mention that they "enjoyed writing it," with the following footnote:

Now, if you're wondering how we can say that we've enjoyed writing it (in the past tense) when we're still on the first page, that's easy: we started at the end, and worked our way backwards. It sounds like a strange way to do it, we know. But, honestly, once we finished writing the index, the rest was hardly any trouble at all.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is arguably the best one out there to start your Perl adventure, and I've learned a lot of small details about programming in Perl. Thank you, Randal L. Schwartz for writing this wonderful book. I'm going to start Intermediate Perl immediately. ...more
Scott Holstad
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
The all-time best book on Perl I've read... ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
A lot better to read for a beginner than Programming Perl . Too bad the exercises were the weak point. Too often in the beginning it was unclear what exactly I should do, and that proved to be a major frustration. Maybe it's different if you're studying in a class with a teacher, but I wasn't, so the author should have bothered to be a lot clearer what each task is asking for.

Sure, "TMTOWTDI" (can you hear the sarcasm), but it was just depressing that after having tried to solve a problem in
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another book moved to the Read shelf even though I haven't read it all the way through yet.

This is a solid introduction, but doesn't cover enough material to help me with my legacy software project. I found the Intermediate Perl book by Schwartz more useful. However, that book wouldn't have made any sense to me without reading this book first.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers-lang
This was a good reference for me back in the 90s, but it's ancient in internet years. However, it's still worth mentioning that in the index at the back of the book on page 225 under the "S" section is this entry:

Scooby Doo, pronouncing "Windex" 166

Turning to page 166, you find the "rindex" function. :D
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perl is so awesome, and powerful, even today.
All the concepts are correct and it is overall very well poised for the future as a language.
Also looking forward to reading Learning Perl 6
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a really good introduction to the language.
Joseph Leskey
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANYBODY!!!!!
Recommended to Joseph by: I completely forget.
This book is absolutely marvelous (and I just read the second edition; little did I know that there were newer ones). It was indeed (to the best of my knowledge) the instigator of my application of programming outside of Visual Studio, which, if you're well acquainted with these areas… well, never mind. Oh, in between Visual Studio and Perl, I learned some shell scripting and various markup languages, because I started using Linux (Debian and Slax specifically) instead of Windows (YAYYYYY!!!!!!) ...more
Nadine Slavinski
This review was written by my son and husband who used this book extensively. They report:

I have programmed in Python and a little bit in C and I think this book is great - and so is perl. I already knew a little bit about perl from reading a Wikipedia article and looking at the perldoc documentation, but Learning Perl taught my some very useful things that I would have never found alone (splicing, nongreedy regexes, just to name a few).

perl has amazing support for I/O, and the book helped me
Kent Frazier
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: beginning programmers
This was my first real programming book (not counting others that I bought but never got far enough it to really make a difference). I felt that it was a really good introduction to programming, as well as a fairly good introduction to Perl. It is certainly not the most comprehensive book on the subject, but the simple but effective description and the exercises at the end of each chapter did a lot to help me grasp programming principles and reinforce them. The book was short enough that I read ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it
In the quest to broaden my technical skills (or 'layoff insurance' as I like to call it), I've opted to learn programming. With IT Support rapidly becoming so automated and out-sourced, it seems to me that my current job will one day be replaced by a robot (in India, likely).

So one of my Unix admin co-workers has been extolling Perl, and I opted to pick up what appears to be the beginner's volume published by O'Reilly (my favorite tech publisher). I'm slowly working through it--it didn't take lo
Shreef A
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The book can be good as an introduction to the basics of perl programming but it doesn't mention a lot of the OOP related features in perl. So if you're working on something more than a simple script, you will need to find some other place to read about references and other more advanced topics, which are not really advanced, but the book skips them as probably covering them would have made the book size increase to be around 500 pages.

While it's talking about the basics, it's still worth readi
Vitor Capela
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book kickstarted my software development career. I was 15 and had tried learning C for a little over a year, trying to fit into a group of friends who were writing window managers for fun. I couldn't really wrap my head around it at the time, with all the ceremony about pointers and memory allocation. I wanted to accomplish things, and the gaps in my knowledge made everything frustrating.

With Learning Perl, within a few hours I had a little program reading inputs and writing files. I was h
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
I recommend reading this book for entertainment and never writing a line of perl. The language is more backwards and silly than even VB (which is saying a helluva lot), but the three writers work through its vulgarities well enough to nearly convince the reader that it's actually worth learning. Don't be fooled by their wiles: perl is a mischievous mistress. ...more
Kevin Connery
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this when the first edition came out, but have been away from the language for a while, and picking it up piecemeal was getting old. It’s vastly improved over the earlier version(s), which were pretty good to begin with. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn about Perl. (Yes, there are a zillion of online tutorials, but this covers a lot more breadth.)
This is *the* Perl book. If you only read one, this should be it. The text explains concepts well, and the end-of-chapter exercises are designed to reinforce what you've just learned, integrating with anything you learned earlier, and also to stretch your imagination. You don't need any prior programming knowledge to find this a useful resource. ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: technical, abandoned
Good book for foundations, I would say... My review wouldn't be a particularly fair one because I didn't get too far with this. As quickly as my need to learn Perl arose, it diminished and disappeared. That said, should that need come back, I believe that this is book where I would re-start. ...more
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
If you want to learn Perl, then this book should be your starting point. The book has a humorous and example-based learning approach. You will see more footnotes than anyother book. The footnotes are worth reading with lot of insights on why things are the way they are.
Jan 06, 2010 added it
Totally learning old school PERL for some stuff at work. This text confirms many of the stereotypes that I have of PERL users. The foreword is a hilarious discussion of PERL wizardry which reminds me why I never learned PERL of my own volition. HAHAHA
Amit Saurav
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
Excellently written book. At first I thought this book was full of chit-chat with so many footnotes but by the end of it, it helped me really understand the basics of Perl. Totally recommend it for anyone who is thinking about "learning perl". ...more
carl  theaker

This was an add on text for a Perl class. Seems like I've
taken more than one version of this class, in person, online,
they're everywhere.
Contains various perls of wisdom you should need for this
Michael Economy
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-related
I read 3/4 of this book straight though. It's a very well writting programming book. I've only used perl like 3 times in my whole life and have written maybe 2 lines ever though, so maybe this book scared me straight? ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've actually read this in russian. It was one of the first books of programming I've read. I remember having a lot of fun when reading it. This was definitely the right book for me at the time. Now I would recommend learning other languages such as Python or Ruby. ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech
Perl may not be a perfect language, while this book is a great introduction to Perl.

It's comprehensive but compact, outlined well too.

The authors demonstrated their deep understanding of Perl with sense of humor.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Humorous book. The Perl language is explained in a clear and easy to understand manner, and introduces good coding style and practices.
Lots of jokes in the style of footnotes which might not suit everyone, but I enjoyed it (the Terry Pratchett fan in me rejoiced too).
Brad Wolfe
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is, hands down, the best book for learning Perl. I have kept a copy of this book near my desk for the past 7+ years, and loan it out to anyone who is interested in learning more about scripting in Perl.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any UNIX/Linux system Administrator
As a UNIX administrator with no Perl experience this was invaluable to me. Since I read it all the way through, I've found it very useful as a reference. Its a definite must for anybody wanting (or needing) to learn Perl. ...more
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