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The Perl CD Bookshelf Various
Published by O'Reilly Media
600 pages
£ 71.50 plus VAT
Published: 6th February 2004
reviewed by Mick Farmer
   in the June 2004 issue (pdf), (html)

For general text processing and simple number crunching I still use Perl, and the earlier edition (circa 1998?) of this CD sits in one of my CD drives for weeks at a time. Therefore, I was keen to review this latest version to see what has changed in the Perl universe over the last few years.

The six books on the CD are listed below and the Bonus (real) book is Perl in a Nutshell.

Each of these books has already been reviewed in the newsletter, so I will concentrate on the complete package.

What immediately springs to mind is that the books are completely platform-independent. The last edition included ``Learning Perl on Win32 Systems'' and I think this demonstrates how Perl has matured with virtually all low-level operations now being done ``the Perl way'', rather than relying on the underlying OS to trap the unwary porter. For those with long memories, this process has being continuing for some time -- I can still remember the ``Perl Resource Kit (UNIX Edition)'' which contained five (real) books and a CD of software from Larry Wall.

The other book that has been dropped is Sriram Srinivasan's ``Advanced Perl Programming'', the book that introduced me to Perl's object-oriented view of the world and to Perl's internal structures. [We understand that a completely new edition has been written -- Ed.] This has been superseded by last year's book from Randal Schwartz and Tom Phoenix entitled ``Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules'', a thoroughly up-to-date introduction to this field.

The sixth book in the collection is the updated ``Mastering Regular Expressions'' by Jeffrey Friedl (in PDF format). This has expanded sections on Perl, Java, and .NET, but I'm not sure what it offers to the Perl programmer. If I need help with a Perl regular expression, I click on (it used to be reached for) ``Programming Perl'', which is my Perl Bible.

All in all, a good update to a trusted friend, but have you seen the price?

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