Programming Perl: 3rd Edition
Perl is a powerful programming language that has grown in popularity since it first appeared in 1988. The first edition of this book, Programming Perl, hit the shelves in 1990, and was quickly adopted as the undisputed bible of the language. Since then, Perl has grown with the times, and so has this book.
Programming Perl is not just a book about Perl. It is also a unique introduction to the language and its culture, as one might expect only from its authors. Larry Wall is the inventor of Perl, and provides a unique perspective on the evolution of Perl and its future direction. Tom Christiansen was one of the first champions of the language, and lives and breathes the complexities of Perl internals as few other mortals do. Jon Orwant is the editor of The Perl Journal, which has brought together the Perl community as a common forum for new developments in Perl.
Any Perl book can show the syntax of Perl's functions, but only this one is a comprehensive guide to all the nooks and crannies of the language. Any Perl book can explain typeglobs, pseudohashes, and closures, but only this one shows how they really work. Any Perl book can say that my is faster than local, but only this one explains why. Any Perl book can have a title, but only this book is affectionately known by all Perl programmers as "The Camel."
This third edition of Programming Perl has been expanded to cover version 5.6 of this maturing language. New topics include threading, the compiler, Unicode, and other new features that have been added since the previous edition.
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Where is the 4th edition?
The 4th edition was published Feb 2012... Is it available? This version is 12 years old... a lot has changed.
It is usually said that this is THE book about Perl to read. I do also think so. Specially if you are new to Perl. Nevertheless, the book got a bit outdated in the meantime (misses some packages which are now of wide use, and make up for some of the handicaps in the design of Perl, like Moose, and, in my opinion, more (a lot more) emphasis on functional programming).
Also, this book is about introducing the reader to Perl, i.e. it does not go into detail on how to make the best out of Perl. Two great companions for this book are Joseph Hall's "Effective Perl Programming", and Mark Jason Dominus' "Higher Order Perl". This last one is freely available on the web.
The Gory Details
Perl as Technology
Perl as Culture