Edinburgh Castle
Mastering Perl
Authorbrian d foy
DateJuly 2007
ReviewerGraeme Irvine
Cover image for Mastering Perl

I have not read the first two books on the series (Learning Perl and Intermediate Perl) both of which are mentioned a few times in Mastering Perl, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I can only assume they have a similar structure. The content of Mastering Perl is not unlike a cookbook, however rather that showing you individual recipes, it takes an ingredient and shows you numerous things you can do with it.

Each chapter starts with an introduction on the simple concept of the subject matter, then builds on these giving (usually) multiple approaches/solutions plus a good indication as to what the author's own favourite is. Each section contains enough code examples to reinforce the theory, but keeps them brief enough not to detract from the overall flow.

The exception to this was the chapter on 'Advanced Regular Expressions' which I found a little tricky to get through, although it would challenge the greatest of authors to write a chapter on this topic with complete finesse. However it does appear at the start of the book so it would be a shame if it managed to put a reader off the rest of the book.

The chapters which were particularly interesting to me were:

These, and each of the other chapters, contained enough useful tips and information to ensure that I'll keep this book to hand whenever I embark on a new Perl project. The author's obvious knowledge and enthusiasm for the language certainly shines through to the point where he has to rein himself back and warn against some of the less standard tricks he has for Perl that are not always recommended practices.


I don't think, nor would I expect from a 'Mastering' title, that this book contains essential information for a Perl programmer. But it does contain a lot of tricks which, as well as being useful in their own right, go a long way to explain both the inner workings of Perl and the construction of many core modules. So if you want to know what goes on behind the scenes when you 'use constant => foo' or how the Exporter module works, this is the book for you.

Table of contents

Mastering Perl

 1. Introduction: Becoming a Master
 2. Advanced Regular Expressions
 3. Secure Programming Techniques
 4. Debugging Perl
 5. Profiling Perl
 6. Benchmarking Perl
 7. Cleaning Up Perl
 8. Symbol Tables and Typeglobs
 9. Dynamic Subroutines
10. Modifying and Jury-Rigging Modules
11. Configuring Perl Programs
12. Detecting and Reporting Errors
13. Logging
14. Data Persistence
15. Working with Pod
16. Working with Bits


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