Programming is about solving problems and good communication. But before code is written, you need to know how to solve the problem. Breaking the problem into component parts assists in the process. And being able to model the problem so that it’s easy to implement and test also helps. Combine this with a solid understanding of the programming language itself – a good programming book contributes to all aspects of problem solving. Perl has the virtue it can solve a problems in a few lines of code. Perl programmers solve problems and get things done.
The popularity of a book is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, and opinions. Programming books accord to this general rule. There is a wide range of Perl books. As Perl is an open source programming language, with an eclectic heritage written by Larry Wall with thousands of contributors, it is welcome some authors have released their Perl books under a freely distributable license. I select 16 excellent Perl books (divided into 2 pages) which help master this language. All of the books are released under an open source license.
By way of background, Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic programming language released under the GPL or Artistic license. Perl’s syntax has its roots in shell scripting tools, borrowing features from other languages including C, shell script (sh), AWK, and sed. It is available for most operating systems. Perl is implemented as an interpreted (not compiled) language. It is procedural, with variables, expressions, assignment statements, control structures, blocks and subroutines.
Perl is a versatile language. It is often used to write (CGI) scripts, manipulate text, general web programming, networking, system administration, prototyping, database access, and graphical programming. One of the most powerful features of Perl is its extensive library of modules. Many of these modules are available from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, which mirrors over 178,000 Perl modules.
Books 1-8 are listed below. Books 9-16 are on the next page.
We have published a series covering the best open source programming books for other popular languages. Read them here.
By Chromatic (290 pages)
Modern Perl is designed to help programmers of all levels of proficiency. The book is not just a Perl tutorial. It explains how and why the language works, so that the full power of Perl can be unleashed. The book is updated for Perl 5.22, to demonstrate the latest and most effective time-saving features.
Modern Perl is one way to describe the way the world’s most effective Perl 5 programmers work. They use language idioms. They take advantage of the CPAN. They show good taste and craft to write powerful, maintainable, scalable, concise, and effective code.
This book providing a wealth of information on:
The electronic versions of this book are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
By Larry Wall and others (724 pages)
This book describes the syntax of Perl and its built-in datatypes, operators, functions, variables, regular expressions and diagnostic messages. There is a complete copy of the book in HTML format.
and much more…
This book is published under the GNU General Public License, version 3.
By Simon Cozens (1029 pages)
Beginning Perl is a book which as its name suggests is written for beginners. It starts with the absolute basics of Perl, guiding the reader carefully through to complex operations such as using Perl as a CGI language. It covers the whole of the core Perl language.
The book covers the following topics:
The book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial License.
By Eric Cholet, Stas Bekman (924 pages)
Practical mod_perl is regarded as the definitive book on how to use, optimize, and troubleshoot mod_perl. It’s an extensive guide to the nuts and bolts of the powerful and popular combination of Apache and mod_perl. From writing and debugging scripts to keeping your server running without failures, the techniques in this book will help you squeeze every ounce of power out of your server.
mod_perl is an Apache module that builds the power of the Perl programming language directly into the Apache web server, giving rise to a fast and powerful web programming environment.
The book covers the following topics, and more:
The site’s website has been down since October 2016, but there is a copy of the book available at archive.org.
The complete book is available online under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution Share-Alike License.
By Robert Nagler (182 pages)
Extreme Perl is a book about Extreme Programming, a software development methodology that enables users, business people, programmers, and computers to communicate effectively, using the programming language Perl.
This book invites Perl programmers and their customers to take a fresh look at software development. Customers, and business people in general, will learn how Extreme Programming enables customer-programmer communication for efficient and flexible requirements gathering. Programmers will see how the methodology’s focus on teamwork, incremental testing, and continuous design allows them to take pride in their craft.
Areas covered include:
The book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
By Greg London (151 pages)
Impatient Perl is designed for individuals who wish to learn Perl or individuals that already program in Perl and do not have the patience to search for information to learn and use Perl. The book should be a useful desk reference for common Perl related questions.
Topics covered include:
This book is made available under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or later. The author has kindly given permission for this article to include a copy of the front-cover.
By Sean M. Burke (343 pages)
Perl & LWP instructs how individuals can write web client applications with LWP and its related HTML modules. Library for WWW in Perl is a set of modules that allow requests to be sent to the web.
The book has chapters on:
This book is aimed at someone who already knows Perl and HTML.
This “1.1” edition of Perl and LWP is available online under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License.
By Dave Rolsky, Ken Williams (320 pages)
The Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason book documents the HTML::Mason framework in detail, including chapters on component syntax, Mason object APIs, a sample site walkthrough, recipes, and details on Mason’s advanced features and how to use them.
The book shows individuals how to create large, complex, dynamically driven web sites that look good and are a snap to maintain. You’ll learn how to visualize multiple Mason-based solutions to any given problem and select among them. The book covers the latest line of Mason development 1.1x, which has many new features, including line number reporting based on source files, sub-requests, and easier use as a CGI.
This book is published under the Open Publication License.