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Book review "Advanced Perl programming"

Advanced Perl Programming

Advanced Perl Programming is a book from Sriram Srinivasan published in 1997 (ouch!).

It's old, if you're a Perl newcomer, don't read such old books (in addition that this book is not adapted to your level).

There is a second edition of this book but it seems a totally different book (different author). Also the Advanced Perl Programming: From Advanced to Expert from William Bo Rothwell seems a completely different book.

Advanced Perl Programming is old but interesting... but I have to admit that it is not consistent in quality.

I think this book is for "hardcore Perl programmers" 😀

Start of the book

The first chapters talk about Perl internals from a Perl developer point of view: references, symbolic refs, reference counting, symbol table, anonymous subs and closures.

It continues with advanced Perl topics (eval and modules).

These chapters give an overall feeling of cleanliness and deep research from author. Each notion is compared to other programming languages (Java, C++, Tcl) which is VERY interesting. In short I loved these chapters.

It makes me think the author is a senior developer and has made a nice research work :)

Middle of the book

I really less appreciated this part, it's about Object Oriented Programming, interfaces, persistence, templating... But if topics seem cool, it has flaws, it's based often on big pieces of imaginary code (not on CPAN) and/or old technologies. I can't say it's bad, but I definitely less enjoyed this part because also the style. Overall I think it's harder to follow because the ordering where code snippets are introduced is rough (e.g. The tetris chapter).

There are still interesting things to pick up in the middle of this, e.g. I enjoyed the chapter about "Tie" (chapter 9) and Persistence (chapter 10).

End of the book

Starting chapter 18, we are back to Perl internals (perl interpreter internals this time). Personally I'm interested in this and I found this part really great.

Interesting bits in bulk

  • "Variable suicide"
  • I discovered there was a ".plc" initiative (to pre-compile perl scripts "a la" python .pyc)
  • I heard for the first time the word "Impedance mismatch" (OOP)
  • When you give a reference as parameter of a function, it is not an optimization
  • Symbolic references only works for global variables
  • Symbolic references does not increase ref count


  • Perl is an highly idiomatic language (and it is both good and bad)
  • Don't sit here and complain, do something! (yet another Perl motto)
  • It would be an ideal world if we never had to worry about fatal bugs, power failures or end users (Byte Mag)
  • A good tool is one that is used in ways its developers never thought of (Brian Kernighan)

Top comments (3)

charlygarcia120 profile image
Carlos Alberto

Perl , Practical extracting and Report Language , my prefered language for CGI, the most quick, only AWK is more quick, I love it.

thibaultduponchelle profile image

😂 😂 😂

charlygarcia120 profile image
Carlos Alberto