Edinburgh Castle
Perl Hacks
Authorschromatic, Damian Conway, Curtis 'Ovid' Poe and other contributors
DateMay 2006
ReviewerRory Macdonald
Cover image for Perl Hacks

I glanced at this text last year, but allowed the title and a very brief squint at the publisher's blurb to put me off digging any further.

My loss.

This book, featuring a slighly smaller footprint to O'Reilly's usual Perl offerings, proved to be an interesting addition to the range of scattertopic titles (cookbook, best practices and the like).

It could be argued that Perl encourages the developer to be lazy (CPAN, loosely typed, garbage collection etc), thereby easing the way toward habits and patterns which are sufficient to get the job done. Regardless of time or inclination to dig deeper and strive for better solutions, this book attempts to alert the reader to good and insightful alternatives.

chromatic, Damian and Ovid are the main contributors to this collection of 101 lessons, born from experience, curiosity and creativity. Whether it be inside-out objects, automagically running tests or handling command line input, I found myself encountering many alternative (better) solutions to coding scenarios I've been (lazily) at peace with for years.

Of course, not all of the content will be immediately relevant to the current activities of every developer. However, every one of the 101 hacks presented should at least receive some eyeball time, to put it on the radar if nothing else.

The hacks are densely packed, each one typically running to about 2 pages. Initially I found the concentration of content annoying when attempting to flick through and dip into something, but soon grew accustomed to the thermometer icon as the visual cue marking the start of the next hack. These icons are also used to reflect the relative complexity of the hack.


Due to the hard-earned nature of many of the lessons presented, I would consider it likely that most Perl coders would find something here to inspire, motivate and assist in their Perl development.

If you're looking for education and inspiration, then you should read this book.

Table of contents

Perl Hacks

About the Authors
Ch 1. Productivity Hacks
Ch 2. User Interaction
Ch 3. Data Munging
Ch 4. Working with Modules
Ch 5. Object Hacks
Ch 6. Debugging
Ch 7. Developer Tricks
Ch 8. Know Thy Code
Ch 9. Expand Your Perl Foo

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