Press releases

O'Reilly Releases the Third Edition of Learning Perl

Press release: July 27, 2001

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 language.

"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 penny!"

"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 Programming Perl."
--Martin Heller,

Online Resources:

Learning Perl
By Randal L. Schwartz & Tom Phoenix
Third Edition, July 2001
ISBN 0-596-00132-0, 316 pages, $34.95 (US)

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