Perl Web Site Workshop
||Author: Molly Holzschlag, Jason Pellerin|
List Price: $39.99
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Publisher: SAMS (20 December, 2001)
Sales Rank: 530,253
Average Customer Rating: 3 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 3 out of 5
Why learn yet another author's programming 'modus operandi'?
Folks, if you can understand what the programmer is doing and saying in this book, you can certainly learn to code Perl for yourself (without the book). It's woefully devoid of whys and what-fors, and makes plenty of assumptions (though claiming otherwise) about your aptitude and disposition regarding Perl-related information - Unix, for example. Holy smoke! I'm just as much a proponent of understanding foundation technology as the next guy, but there is absolutely no reason at all in today's Mac/PC Web development environments to learn the bevy of esoteric Unix commands shoveled out in the book. None! Not to mention the Unix processes and programs only casually thrown out a single time in passing, as if the target audience (aspiring Perl/Unix people) is going to understand it all.
Most of the code in the book, as is much else written using CGI.PM is overly obfuscated and complex. The browser detection and cookie routines used in the book are about four times more complex than need be. This might be okay if one were just going to plug it in and go... something not possible. The bulk of the book is made up of explanation regarding how to employ these code snippets. It's rough going.
Internationalization and other Web usability issues seem to have been overlooked. Example: The taint-checking subroutine strips away all but basic alphanumeric and common/benign punctuation characters. That's no small oversight in an install-it-ready-to-use package.
I bought this book with mild interest A) as research for a class I teach, B) because it was recent, and C) I appreciate what Molly H. does elsewhere. I was disappointed to discover that it isn't much better than the several others I've read from years ago onward (Website Automation Toolkit, Drag 'n' Drop CGI, etc.) Molly seems outside of her area of specialty, and Jason, as good as his Playboy.com coding/work may have been [wink, wink], provides too much in the way of program-busting typos and convolution.
Something nice: The Perl scripts themselves are valuable enough as instruction to buy the book for, at a discount. Many of the security and development considerations talked about throughout the book are highly useful.
If you want a more intuitive approach to learning Perl while gaining instant applications, then I suggest something like 'Custom CGI Scripting with Perl' by Kevin Hanegan. It has some typographical proplems too, but is _muuuch_ easier to understand and work through for the right brain-inclined beginner.
· Learning Perl, Third Edition
· Programming the Perl DBI
· Perl Cookbook, Second Edition
· Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide, Second Edition