Written by one of today's top-selling author's on programming languages, this practical, trailblazing guide to learning Perl offers all the advantages of a reference manual with a detailed, yet concise study on all of the language's key elements, and is not dependent upon either UNIX or Windows. Begins with a complete introduction to Perl: what it is, scripts vs. programs, its central characteristics, and more. Examines scalar types, expressions, and simple input and output; control statements; arrays; hashes and references; functions; pattern matching; files, input/output, and formats; CGI programming with Perl; and other advanced topics. Each chapter includes a summary and numerous exercises. For professionals in the computer science and related fields.