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Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    Review of Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules

    Last Fall I attended a session on object oriented programming with Objective-C. When discussing various languages with object oriented capabilities, the speaker remarked, 'Don't even talk to me about Perl.' Many people feel that way about Perl without even having to talk about object oriented programming. Randall Schwartz and Tom Phoenix, the authors of the Perl primer 'Learning Perl', take on the task of talking about Perl and object oriented programming. Since Perl does not have object orientation as its principal structure, they have a significant task to pull off. In the Foreword of 'Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules' Damian Conway draws attention to Perl's particular magic in implementing object oriented programming: '[Perl] takes a collection of Perl's existing non-OO features...and then--with nothing up its sleeve-- manages to conjure up fully functional objects, classes and methods.' This particular nature of Perl shows up in the nature of the book's content. 'Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules' is not about why or when to use object oriented programming in Perl. It is about how to magically turn references and anonymous data structures into object oriented programming. In that way, it is more of a tactical book than a strategic book. The history and concepts behind object oriented programming are touched on only lightly in its 180 pages; however, the book follows a steady progression to the goal of making and distributing Perl modules. Eagerly anticipating the publication of the book, I bought it as soon as it was available. I reaped immediate benefit from the first few chapters as they demonstrated how to accomplish the goals I had for a project that I was working on. I lost interest shortly after chapter 4. The book has sat on my coffee table for most of the last year. I paused for a great deal partly due to the vagueries of my personal life, but partly due to the odd pacing of the book. Without being able to give explicit examples, I can say that the book feels like a first edition. The book seems squarely targeted at a point between 'Learning Perl' and 'Advanced Perl Programming.' And that's where I'm at. It certainly has helped me develop the ability to use more complex data structures in my Perl programs. However, it is not a thorough discussion on object oriented programming. If you've grown beyond 'Learning Perl', you may find 'Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules' worth talking about.

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