PERL 5 for Dummies


Perl is fast becoming the programming language of choice for many wanna-be programmers and systems administrators alike. Find out for yourself why this language is so popular and use Perl 5 For Dummies to begin writing in Perl. You'll see how easy it is to create your own programs in Perl or use any of the hundreds of pre-written programs from the accompanying CD-ROM. You don't need to know a great deal about programming to get started with ...
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Perl is fast becoming the programming language of choice for many wanna-be programmers and systems administrators alike. Find out for yourself why this language is so popular and use Perl 5 For Dummies to begin writing in Perl. You'll see how easy it is to create your own programs in Perl or use any of the hundreds of pre-written programs from the accompanying CD-ROM. You don't need to know a great deal about programming to get started with Perl -- this book shows you everything!

Inside, find helpful advice on how to:

  • Figure out Perl object-oriented programs
  • Get files from the Internet by using programs you write
  • Write programs that will process files, monitor disk use, and perform other system administration tasks
  • Create exciting CGI programs for a World Wide Web server
  • Discover how quickly you can write in Perl, even if you don't know other programming languages
  • Process databases and other corporate information with ease
  • Find out where the best Perl sites live on the Internet
  • Explore programs written by Perl programmers all over the world on the accompanying CD-ROM

About the CD:

Valuable bonus CD includes:

  • Sample code from the book
  • WinZip 6.2 for Windows
  • StuffIt Expander for Macintosh
  • Tools to create Perl code samples from the Internet!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764500442
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 7.33 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents


About This Book
No programming experience required!
What You Should Know Before You Read This Book
What You'll Find In This Book
Part I: Getting Going with Perl
Part II: Most of What You Need
Part III: The Nuts and Bolts on the Perl
Part IV: Advanced Perl Is Still Somewhat Easy
Part V: The Part of Tens
Typestyles in This Book
Icons Used in This Book
Perl Awaits You

Part I: Getting Going with Perl

Chapter 1: What Is Perl? Why Do I Care?
Programming Languages: Making Computers Compute
Making Your Language Your Computer's Language
Language design is a tricky thing
Picky programming
The Purpose of Programming
So, Why Perl?
Perl's History
Two Versions, One Perl
Chapter 2: Running Perl on Your Computer
Perl Isn't Just for Unix
The name game
Getting the latest from the Internet
Unix: Perl's Home
Unix installation, or hopefully you don't have to
Unix installation if you really have to
Running Perl programs under Unix
Perl-Win32 on Windows 95 and Windows NT
Installing Perl-Win32 under Windows 95 and Windows NT
Running Perl-Win32 in a (yuck!) DOS window
MacPerl: The Mac Interface You Expect
Installing MacPerl
Running MacPerl programs
Perl on the Command Line
Other Perls
Chapter 3: Into the Guts of Perl
How You Enter Programs
What a Program Looks Like
How to comment
Statements, the Stuff Perl Programs Are Made Of
Blocks within blocks
Operators and functions
Indentation and Spacing
Indenting blocks
Indenting for the fun of it
Five-Minute Guide to Numbers and Text
Variables and Literals
Why you always assign variables first
Perl's special variables
Default arguments
What's Next?
Chapter 4: Your First Program, Times Two
So What Does the Program Do?
Running a program on Unix
Running a program under Windows 95 and Windows NT
Running a program on the Macintosh
What Displays
Your Second Program, with More Features
What's going on in
What to Do If Perl Finds a Problem
The forgotten semicolon
The forgotten quotation mark
Having one parenthesis too many or too few
Onward into Perldom!

Part II: Most of What You Need

Chapter 5: Terrific Text
Seeing Your Text: The Print Statement
The Basics of Text
What Is a Character?
Quoting Text
Single versus double quotes
Special characters in text
Functions for quoting text
When you have a lot to say
Putting Strings Together
Simple string transformations
Getting information from strings
There's More about Strings
Chapter 6: Nifty Numbers
Integers and Reals
True and False Are Numbers Too
Perl's Basic Math Operators
Doing math and an assignment at the same time
Autoincrementing and Autodecrementing
Simple Numeric Functions
Converting Numbers Into Strings
Counting in Other Numbering Systems
Chapter 7: Learning to Love Lists
What's On the List for Today?
Naming Lists
Slices of Lists
Lists Are Surprisingly Useful
The Print Statement with Lists
Basic List Functions
Two Nifty List Operators
Doing the Splits
More on Creating Lists
Scalar Context Versus List Context
Chapter 8: Cool Conditionals and Lovely Loops
A Little about Logic
If You Like Conditionals Like I Like Conditionals...
Looking at old ifs
A conditional operator
Going Around in Loops
Avoiding infinite loops
Loop hopping
Knowing What You're Looking For
Working on Each Element in a List
Using Expressions as Logical Values
Short-Circuit Logic
Using Labels
Chapter 9: More Easy Operators and Functions
Undefined Variables
Location, Location, Location
Fancy Formatting for Text and Numbers
What Time Is It?
Making Life a Bit More Random
Twiddling Bits
Converting Lists to Strings
Rearranging Lists
So Where Are You Now?

Part III: The Nuts and Bolts on the Perl

Chapter 10: Putting Together a Perl Program
Avoiding Repetition with Subroutines
The parts of a subroutine
Keeping your subroutines clean
Handing back a value from your subroutine
Who am I?
Using Imported Perl Code in Your Programs
A requirement for included files
Where Perl finds included files
Including code other than subroutines
Running programs in eval
Chapter 11: Perl and CGI: Web Server Programs Made Simple
Making the Web More Interesting
CGI: It's Less Than You Think
What you need to know
Who are you talking to?
Environment Variables
Getting at the variables
The query
Where the request came from
Getting Requests from HTML Forms
Two ways to get the form data
What to do with the mess
Sending Out the Result
Creating HTML on the Fly
Security and CGI Programs
Less Interesting Environment Variables
Additional client information
Server information
User authentication
Program information
Chapter 12: The Files Go In, The Files Go Out
What Is a File, Anyway?
The First Step: Opening Files
File modes
How to tell if it really opened
Using Files
When You're Done: Closing Files
File Names for Different Operating Systems
Directory names on different computers
Opening files is more fun on the Mac
Reading from a Text File, the Easy Way
Writing Text to a File, the Easy Way
Testing Things about Files
Not Really Files: Standard In, Standard Out, and Standard Error
The big three
Not files at all: Running programs
Chapter 13: More on Files and Directories
Reading and Writing Files, the Slightly Harder Way
Writing to a binary file
Forcing binary reads
Getting one character the very slow way
Changing Things about the Files
Renaming files
Changing file times
Deleting files altogether
Great Big Globs of Files
File Features for Unix
Unix-like chown and chmod
Links in Unix
Nitty-Gritty File Details
Directories: Dealing with Gangs of Files
Directory functions
Walking through directories
Creating and destroying directories
Chapter 14: String Magic: Pattern Matching and Regular Expressions
What's So Regular about Regular Expressions?
Simple true-false searches
Getting even shorter
Those pesky backslashes
Inexact Matches in Regular Expressions
Matching any character
Characters with class
Some Special Locations
Quantifiers Give You Multiplicity
What Perl Returns from a Match
Using the match results in your program
Greedy matching
Advanced Use of the m// Operator
Scalar and list context
Introduction to modifiers
Global searches in the m// operator
Multiple lines in a string
The Unix Geek's Favorite: grep
Simple Substitutions
Using the match results in your substitution
Expressions in the second argument
Another Look at Splitting
Quoting words, the shorter way
Returning \delimiters in split
Letter-for-Letter Translations

Part IV: Advanced Perl Is Still Somewhat Easy

Chapter 15: Perl as a Gateway to the Internet
Getting at the Web with libwww-perl
Installing libwww-perl
Getting documents from the Web and FTP
Making it a program
Using libwww-perl with objects
Getting Your Mail
The Mail::POP3Client module
Creating a basic client
Chapter 16: Associative Arrays and Multidimensional Lists
Associative Arrays
Talking about Associative Arrays
Creating Associative Arrays
Adding records
Removing records
Looking inside Associative Arrays
Do not assume order
Checking for any records at all
Associative Arrays and Files
Lists within Lists
Two-dimensional lists
Accessing one piece at a time
Adding rows and columns to two-dimensional lists
Associative Arrays of Lists
Lists within Lists and Files
Text files for two-dimensional lists of lists
Chapter 17: Dancing with Databases
It's All Done with Associative Arrays
Keeping It Small
Notes about Perl and Databases
Chapter 18: Controlling Your Computer from Perl
Getting with the System
Getting output from a program
The venerable open function
Running programs in MacPerl
Controlling a Windows System with Perl-Win32
Perl-Win32 system variables
Perl-Win32 system functions
Perl-Win32 system modules
Controlling a Mac with MacPerl
Unix-only System Functions
Chapter 19: Object-Oriented Perl
Why Objects Are Good
An Overview of Object Orientation
Perl's Objects Made Easy
Using use
Making new objects
With objects come methods
Real-World Objects
Programming with Pragmas
Chapter 20: Programming in Style
Programming Style Is Relative, But Important
Nice formatting
Choose your operator
Parentheses are your friends
Flexible order for conditionals
Many Comments about Comments
Making lines
Comments on the same line
Naming your variables

Part V: The Part of Tens

Chapter 21: Ten Even More Advanced Perl Topics, Covered Lightly
Chapter 22: Ten Really Short, Really Useful Perl Programs
Chapter 23: Ten Great Perl Sites on the Web
Chapter 24: Ten Differences between Perl 4 and Perl 5
Chapter 25: Ten Reasons Why Perl Is Better Than Java
Appendix A: What's on the CD-ROM

The CPAN Library
Files in The Library
CPAN on the CD-ROM
Getting at the files on Windows 95
Getting at the files on a Mac
Appendix B: The Great Perl Reference
Perl Operators
Operator Precedence
Perl's Functions and Statements
Operators, Functions, and Statements, Listed by Chapter
Perl's Special Variables
General-purpose variables
Variables that relate to errors and return values
Special variables for regular expressions
Variables that relate to processes
Variables for formats
Obscure variables
Perl's Special File Handles


Disc License Agreement and Installation Instructions

Book Registration Information

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