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Doug NickersonPerl is an interpreted language that features powerful (and cool-looking) expressions with generally more than one way to manipulate them. With Perl, you can put arrays on both sides of the equals sign, write terse regular expressions using built-in operators, and structure`data with built-in hashes (or associative lists). Perl is Basic meets C meets APL, with objects and an Algol block structure thrown in. Surely serious use of Perl may be hazardous to your health.
Unlike its sister book Programming Perl, Learning Perl on Win32 Systems, by Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom Christiansen, presents little danger that you will be overwhelmed by Perl's embarrassment of riches.
Learning Perl on Win32 Systems covers the basics of Perl in O'Reilly's trademark well-organized approach, but how much of Win32 is covered? Until about Chapter 10, I was concerned that Win32 might have been added as an afterthought. (O'Reilly's Learning Perl, the ancestor of this book, also included Randal Schwartz as an author.)
Rather than a complete reference to using Perl with Win32, this is Perl with a Win32 slant. Navigating directories, removing files, and getting system status; all are covered with commentary about what you must do to get these to work in Win32.
And because of Perl's UNIX heritage, frequent reference is made to how UNIX and Windows are different. In Perl, calling native Win32 functions, and many other functionalities not supported in the immediate language, is accomplished via extensions. In this book, examples of using some Win32 functions are in the main text, but comprehensive detail about using Win32 extensions is placed in an appendix.
This approach is fine. Win32 need not play much of a role in learning language basics, and the goal is to learn Perl -- not conquer all of its vagaries.
The tutorial in Chapter One is well thought out and the book includes ample exercises (with exercise solutions in an appendix). Covering as it does the basics of the language and providing an orientation for those programming under Windows, Perl beginners will find this book an excellent introduction to Perl.