Sebastopol, CA--When Randal Schwartz wrote the first edition of
Learning Perl in 1993, the back cover stated--almost
prophetically--that the book was written by a "leading Perl trainer."
Within a few months of the book's publication, Schwartz's company had
in fact become the leading worldwide on-site Perl training company and
Learning Perl had become a bestseller. Known affectionately as the
"Llama" among Perl programmers, Learning Perl has guided thousands of
aspiring Perl programmers into the Perl community. Now the third
edition of Learning
Perl (O'Reilly, US $34.95), coauthored by Randal
Schwartz and Tom Phoenix, two of the most prominent and active members
of the Perl community, is sure to take its place beside the earlier
editions as the most recommended book for learning the Perl programming
"This book is totally new, with no cut and paste from any previous
edition, reflecting the results of research for our ongoing Stonehenge
classroom trainings," says Schwartz. "You get the core of Perl.
Everyone should spend the first 30 hours of their Perl experience
reading this book."
Perl began as a tool for Unix system administrators and has since
blossomed into a full-featured programming language found on
practically every computing platform, used for web programming,
database manipulation, XML processing, system administration and more.
According to the authors of
Learning Perl, Third
Edition, Perl is
easy to use, unlimited in its capabilities, and fast. But the claim
made most often by Perl programmers is that Perl is "fun." For whatever
reason they have chosen to learn Perl, there are more than one million
Perl programmers today and their number continues to grow.
"Perl gives you a way to make the common tasks easy, and the uncommon
tasks possible," explains Schwartz. "Perl is also a mandatory
requirement for many hiring managers these days, so it's good to have
on your resume in this age of downsizing and dot-comming. And even if
you're in a company that isn't going out of business, people need to do
more with less, and Perl is great leverage to do that."
With years of success in teaching Perl as consultants, Schwartz and
Phoenix derived the new text from their "Learning Perl" courseware and
instructor notes, which they refined and road-tested with a view to
this latest edition of the "Llama." Even the exercises at the end of
each chapter have changed to be "more real world and better paced," as
Schwartz says, and include exercises created with both Unix and Windows
in mind. Readers will find that the latest edition of the book is
addressed less to the Unix system administrator and much more to the
general programmer. The authors have reengineered the book especially
to match the pace and scope appropriate for readers who are trying to
get started with Perl, while retaining the detailed discussion,
examples, and the humor for which the book is famous.
"We had a lot of fun writing this book, and it shows in the text," says
coauthor Phoenix. "When we work at teaching or writing, we're really
playing and having a good time. That's one of the reasons Randal and I
enjoy working together, since we have a compatible sense of humor.
We're always trying to top each other with a joke or a way of
presenting the material to our students."
Learning Perl, Third
Edition was written for anyone who would like to
learn how to program Perl or learn about the language. As the authors
say, "Other books may teach you to program in Perl, but 'Learning Perl'
will turn you into a Perl programmer."
What readers and critics said about the earlier editions:
"It does more than merely introduce the reader to the language; it also
does an excellent job of conveying the philosophy of Perl. More than
anything else this book has given me a solid enough foundation in Perl
for me to experiment on my own by writing programs that are at least
personally useful, and be able to easily understand the more
complicated subjects discussed in the Perl Cookbook and others."
--Josh Borroughs, Alaska Perl Mongers
"Thankfully, O'Reilly publishes many de facto programming titles to
which Learning Perl can easily be added. Simple but elegant examples
throughout detail this rich language. . . . worth every
"Well thought out and well written, with a sense of humor. Learning
Perl is also known as 'the llama book' for the animal pictured on its
cover. It is deliberately incomplete. The assumption is that after
you've gotten your feet wet going through this book, you'll move on to
--Martin Heller, Byte.com
By Randal L. Schwartz & Tom Phoenix
Third Edition, July 2001
ISBN 0-596-00132-0, 316 pages, $34.95 (US)