Book Reviews

The following book reviews are the copyright of their respective authors and no part should be reproduced without the express permission of the author. Publishers and Authors of the books reviewed may reproduce the whole or extracts of a review for their book. To request copyright permission please email

All the reviews herein are the opinions of the reviewer and are not necessarily the views of Birmingham Perl Mongers and its members. If you feel a review or comment has been made in error, please contact to rectify the situation.

Perl Books

Static Link:

The Perl CD Bookshelf
Title:The Perl CD Bookshelf
Author(s):[too many to mention]
Publisher:O'Reilly Media

This is as close a 'complete reference guide to Perl' as you can possibly get. The CD comprises 6 books in HTML format, with the added Java search applet to quickly find what you're looking for, together with a hard copy version of "Perl in a Nutshell". Having started my Perl programming with the aid of 2 of the books, "Programming Perl" and "Perl Cookbook", I now tend to use this CD for reference, in the knowledge that in most cases it contains all I need to know.

If you're new to Perl this is a great bargain as these books are perhaps among the first books you should think about buying in order to learn Perl, with probable exception of "Learning Perl on Win32 Systems". There are many reviews of the individual books, so have a look on the O'Reilly site for a more in depth look.

As a brief guide though, "Learning Perl" is your starting point if you are new to the Perl programming language. Containing everything to get you up and running with simple scripts, the book is also a basic guideline for writing good Perl code. "Programming Perl" and "Advance Perl" are the next two in the family, covering more detailed and complex programming issues.

"The Perl Cookbook" contains many recipes for useful programs, of which 90% are the examples you wish could have been fitted in "Programming Perl" or "Advanced Perl", had the authors had the time and space for them. "Perl In A Nutshell" is simply that. All the syntax and commands listed in man page style format. A great quick reference guide.

"Learning Perl on Win32 Systems" is perhaps the least read of all the books, primarily because most of us don't program Perl on Windows, or the fact that Perl is so portable virtually everything you need to know is in the other books. But still it's worth being in the set.

If you can afford to get this it can save you time searching though a hard copy version to quickly find what you need to know. However, some people prefer to peruse a hardcopy at their leisure, but as a nearly complete reference guide you can't really beat it.

My Verdict - An invaluable addition to a Perl programmer's arsenal, whether you are new to the language or an old veteran. A damn good buy, it'll be worth every penny.