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August 18, 1999

O'Reilly Releases First Book on Algorithms with Perl

SEBASTOPOL, CA -- "I bristle whenever I hear Perl described as "just" a scripting language, because real programmers know that Perl is every bit as powerful as other languages," says Jon Orwant, co-author of the just-released book Mastering Algorithms with Perl. "By weaving Perl's pragmatism with traditional computer science, Algorithms with Perl helps Perl programmers employ the best techniques of a university algorithms course while showing the rest of the world how useful and powerful the language is."

According to Andy Oram, an editor at O'Reilly & Associates (the publishers of the book), many programmers would love to use Perl for projects that involve heavy lifting, but miss the many traditional algorithms that textbooks teach for other languages. "Using algorithms explained in this book, the reader can carry out traditional programming tasks in a high-powered, efficient, easy-to-maintain manner with Perl" explains Oram.

"You can solve complex problems in Perl more quickly, and in fewer lines, than any other language," says Orwant. "This ease of use makes Perl an excellent tool for exploring algorithms. Computer science embraces complexity; the essence of programming is the clean dissection of a seemingly insurmountable problem into a series of simple computable steps. Perl is ideal for tackling the tougher nuggets of computer science because its liberal syntax lets the programmer express his or her solution in the manner best suited to the task. (After all, Perl's motto is There's More Than One Way To Do It.). Algorithms are complex enough; we don't need a computer language making it any tougher."

Algorithms with Perl assumes a basic understanding of Perl syntax and functions, but not necessarily any background in computer science. The authors explain clearly the reasons for using various classic programming techniques, the kind of applications that use them, and-most important-how to code these algorithms in Perl.

If you are an amateur programmer, this book will fill you in on the essential algorithms you need to solve problems in other languages, you will be surprised at how much different (often easier) it is to implement them in Perl. And yes, the book even has the obligatory fractal display program.

There have been dozens of books on programming algorithms, some of them excellent, but never before has there been one that uses Perl.

The authors include the editor of The Perl Journal and master librarian of CPAN; all are contributors to CPAN and have archived much of the code in this book there.

"This book was so exciting I lost sleep reading it." --Tom Christiansen

For more information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bios, and samples, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/maperl/

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Mastering Algorithms with Perl
By Jon Orwant, Jarkko Hietaniemi & John Macdonald
1st Edition August 1999 (US)
1-56592-398-7, 688 pages, $34.95 (US)

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