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Perl in a Nutshell

Perl in a NutshellSearch this book
  Preface Next: Typographical Conventions


Perl is a programming language that is useful . By this, we mean that people don't learn Perl just because they think they should, they learn Perl because they want to get something done.

This book is for Perl programmers who need to get things done. It's for readers who have dabbled a little in Perl and want a single reference for all their needs. This book is part reference, part guide to the world of Perl. We cover the language itself, but also the Perl modules that are most popular - modules for CGI, database manipulation, network programming, graphical interfaces, and Win32 integration.

How This Book Is Organized

This book has eight parts, as follows:

Part I, Getting Started

Chapter 1, Introduction to Perl , gets you oriented to Perl and the Perl community.

Chapter 2, Installing Perl , gives you some pointers on getting Perl and its modules installed on your machine. This chapter introduces you to the CPAN archive and discusses using the CPAN module to retrieve the latest versions of Perl modules.

Part II, Language Basics

Chapter 3, The Perl Interpreter , is about using the perl program itself. It covers environment variables, command-line options, and the differences in executing the Unix and Win32 versions of Perl.

Chapter 4, The Perl Language , is the turbo-charged tutorial/reference to the Perl language. If you've never programmed before, then you might need a tutorial that goes more slowly. But if you have some experience with other programming languages, this chapter should teach you enough to start writing Perl programs.

Chapter 5, Function Reference , is a reference chapter for each of the built-in functions to Perl.

Chapter 6, Debugging , is about using the Perl debugger to help locate the rare errors in your programs.

Part III, Modules

Chapter 7, Packages, Modules, and Objects , gives a quick introduction to Perl packages, Perl modules, and object-oriented programming in Perl.

Chapter 8, Standard Modules , is a reference to each of the modules included in the standard Perl distribution.

Part IV, CGI

Chapter 9, CGI Overview , is a brief introduction to the concepts behind CGI programming.

Chapter 10, The CGI.pm Module , covers the very popular CGI.pm module, which is deemed essential by many CGI programmers.

Chapter 11, Web Server Programming with mod_perl , is about mod_perl , the Apache module that can be used to significantly improve CGI performance and also allows you to embed Perl code into the Apache server itself.

Part V, Databases

Chapter 12, Databases and Perl , gives a brief introduction to DBM databases in Perl, and provides a reference to DBI, the Database Independence package that gives you a consistent interface to many different database packages.

Part VI, Network Programming

Chapter 13, Sockets , explains socket programming and how to use the IO:Socket module.

Chapter 14, Email Connectivity , covers the Net::SMTP and Net::POP3 modules for sending and reading email, and also the Mail modules for manipulating email messages.

Chapter 15, Usenet News , explains the NNTP protocol and the Net::NNTP module for reading and posting Usenet news, and the News::Newsrc module for managing .newsrc files.

Chapter 16, FTP , explains the FTP protocol, the Net::FTP module for transferring files by FTP, and the Net::Netrc module for managing .netrc files.

Chapter 17, The LWP Library , covers the most commonly used parts of the huge LWP library of modules for HTTP transactions.

Part VII, Perl/Tk

Chapter 18, Perl/Tk , is a reference to the Tk extension to Perl, for creating graphical user interfaces from within a Perl program.

Part VIII, Win32

Chapter 19, Win32 Modules and Extensions , talks about the many Perl modules for working with the Win32 operating systems.

Chapter 20, PerlScript , is about the ActiveX scripting tool, which is loosely based on Perl.