|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
By Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson & Tom Christiansen
1st Edition August 1997
1-56592-324-3, 306 pages, $29.
This is a pretty weak introductory book. Donít buy it with your own money (corporate funds are probably OK if the book is discounted 50% ;-). The authors definitely do not understand the Win32 environment well enough. The language is explained as an isolated phenomenon without reference to existing scripting tools (VBA, VBScrit, REXX, etc.). The main use of Perl in the Win32 environment is CGI programming and in this area the book does not have enough value for beginners.
Generally this book looks like an attempt to adapt the original Randal Schwartz text to the Win32 environment (second edition for Learning Perl which is oriented mainly on the UNIX audience also is no longer the best introductory book available, but at least the first edition was one of the first books on Perl). The adaptation attempt failed and the results are pretty disappointing. IMHO Cross platform Perl by Eric F. Johnson is a better deal.
Neither the examples, nor style are very suitable to Win32. For example Chapter 1 the subtitle "Standard Perl distribution" (page 6) contains the following recommendations:
These recommendations can be considered a joke for Win32 beginners, who get used to prepackaged software.
Chapters are very uneven in length and quality.
Chapter 1 is disappointing. The secret word guesser introduced in Chapter 1 is definitely far from the best introductory example for Win32 audience. The number of unexplained concepts introduced here would scare novices away. Probably more simple examples like a couple of UNIX-style filters (head, tail) or generation of HTML for the famous phrase "Hello world" would be more appropriate.
Chapter 2 is OK.
Chapter 3 does not provide a clear description of Perl syntactical and semantical achievements and pitfalls. For example, Perl considers a negative subscript on the array as a count back from the end. So each element has two indexes (from the beginning and from the end). The last element has an index -1, which is really very convenient. And what is more important Perl uses the same approach in the substr built-in function.
Chapter 4 seems to be written by "structured programming diehards" and is very weak. Rich Perl control structures are not covered. Neither continue, next, break operators, nor the short-circuit semantics of || && operators in if statements (not apparent for people who never programmed in C) was not discussed. IMHO continue, next, break operators really simplify construction of non-trivial loops and in this respect Perl looks superior to Java.
Chapter 5 (hashes) is only 4 pages long for such an important subject as associative arrays. Strangely enough it does not mention the %ENV -- probably the most important associative array for novices.
Chapter 6 (Basic I/O) is very short. Perl after all was designed to process logs and such a chapter definitely should be more than four pages long and should contain more examples.
Chapter 7 fails to recognize the different mentality of the Win32 users. Basically there are two approaches to the regular expressions in the Win32 environment. One is to use regular expressions only when necessary and the second is to use them whenever possible. The first camp (partially represented by former REXX users and VB users) prefer a more procedural way of text manipulations and tend to rely more on substr, index, length, split and join functions, while the second is the regular expression addicts. The authors definitely belong to the second camp ;-). IMHO non-greedy (minimal) matching is often more convenient than a regular one, especially for novices, but such a possibility was never mentioned in the book.
Chapter 15 is probably one of the few things that were done right in the book. The index and substr built-in functions are covered adequately. I would like to mention that the authors cover a very important use of the substr in the left part of the assignment statement (the idea probably borrowed from the PL/1).
Chapter 16 is just OK.
Chapter 17 is a joke as DBM is the Unix-only beast. Only the last page ("Win32 Database interfaces") can be considered relevant to the Win32 users. It's really depressing to see such a blunder in an O'Reilly book.
The chapter about CGI is somewhat superficial. At the same time it is the main application area for Perl, especially in the Win32 environment.
The only subject covered in this book that was not covered in the Cross Platform Perl is the coverage of OLE2 (Chapter 19). It uses a rather interesting example of MAPI.
Win32 is not UNIX. Strangely enough for such a book the discussion of pitfalls of Win32 environment is completely absent. For example the authors fail to stress the difference between chop and chomp functions. Even the most annoying difference between UNIX-style and Win32 style directory paths syntax (with "\" instead of "/") was never mentioned.
I believe O'Reilly should do a better reviewing and editing job, if it wants to preserve its reputation of a publisher of consistently well written and edited books.
- Nikolai Bezroukov
Standard disclaimer applies.
Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers : Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy
War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotes : Somerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose Bierce : Bernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes
Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law
Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds : Larry Wall : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOS : Programming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC development : Scripting Languages : Perl history : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history
The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-Month : How to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite
Most popular humor pages:
Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor
The Last but not Least
Copyright © 1996-2018 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. www.softpanorama.org was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time and without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.
FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.
This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...
|You can use PayPal to make a contribution, supporting development of this site and speed up access. In case softpanorama.org is down you can use the at softpanorama.info|
The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the author present and former employers, SDNP or any other organization the author may be associated with. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose.
Last modified: September 12, 2017