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16 of the Best Free Perl Books - Part 1

16 of the Best Free Perl Books

Individuals wanting to learn and develop their understanding of the Perl programming language have a huge selection of books to choose from. There are hundreds of enlightening Perl books that are available to purchase at reasonable cost. However, given that Perl is an open source programming language, with an eclectic heritage written by Larry Wall and a cast of thousands, it is satisfying to see that some authors have made their Perl publications available to download without charge, and released under a freely distributable license.

Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic programming language released under the GPL or Artistic license. 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. Whilst Perl is not an acronym, it is sometimes known as Practical Extraction and Report Language and lightheartedly as the Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister.

Perl can be used for a large number of tasks. It is often used to write CGI scripts. It is also frequently used for text manipulation, 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 100,000 Perl modules.

The focus of this article is to select some of the finest Perl books which are available to download for free. The majority of the books featured here can also be freely distributed. So get reading, learning and sharing.

1. Modern Perl

Modern Perl
Website www.onyxneon.com/books/modern_perl/index.html
Author chromatic
Format PDF, A4 PDF, HTML, ePub
Pages 204

Modern Perl is designed to help programmers of all levels of proficiency. The book is not only a Perl tutorial. It concentrates on Perl 5.12 and 5.14, to demonstrate the latest and most effective time-saving features.

Modern Perl explains how and why the language works, so that the full power of Perl can be unleashed.

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 Perl Philosophy
  • Perl and its Community focusing on CPAN, community and development sites
  • The Perl Language introducing names, variables, values, control flow, scalars, arrays, hashes, coercion, packages, references, and nested data structures
  • Operators - a series of one or more symbols used as part of the syntax
  • Functions - a discrete, encapsulated unit of behaviour
  • Regular Expressions and Matching - the use of these expressions gives Perl its incredible text processing power
  • Objects - discrete, unique entities with their own identities
  • Style and Efficacy explaining the importance of writing maintainable, idiomatic, and effective Perl
  • Managing Real Problems covering testing, handling warnings, files, modules, distributions, and more
  • Perl Beyond Syntax
  • What to Avoid

The electronic versions of this book are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

2. Beginning Perl

Beginning Perl
Website www.perl.org/books/beginning-perl/
Author Simon Cozens
Format PDF, HTML
Pages 672

Beginning Perl is a book which as its name suggest is written for individuals that are new to programming who want to learn Perl. It starts from the absolute basics of Perl, guiding the reader carefully through up to complex operations such as using Perl as a CGI language.

The book covers the following topics:

  • Installing Perl on Windows and UNIX
  • Making use of online Perl resources like CPAN
  • First principles in programming and the Perl syntax
  • Working with simple values
  • Lists and Hashes
  • Loops and Decisions
  • Regular Expressions
  • Working with files and databases
  • Writing web pages in Perl
  • Subroutines
  • Running and Debugging Perl
  • Modules
  • Using Perl as an object-oriented language
  • Perl and Databases
  • The World of Perl

The book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial License.

3. Higher Order Perl

Higher Order Perl
Website hop.perl.plover.com
Author Mark Jason Dominus
Format PDF, MOD source code
Pages 600

Higher-Order Perl: Transforming Programs with Programs is a book with the goal to teach Perl programmers with a strong C and Unix background how to use techniques with roots in functional programming languages like Lisp that are available in Perl as well, but less known. It is about functional programming techniques in Perl. It is about how to write functions that can modify and manufacture other functions.

The contents of the book:

  • Recursion and callbacks
  • Dispatch tables
  • Caching and memoization
  • Iterators
  • From recursion to iterators
  • Infinite streams
  • Higher-order functions and currying
  • Parsing
  • Declarative programming

4. Practical mod_perl

Practical mod_perl
Website www.modperlbook.org
Author Stas Bekman, Eric Cholet
Format PDF, HTML
Pages 928

Practical mod_perl is regarded as the definitive book on how to use, optimize, and troubleshoot mod_perl. It is 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:

  • Configuring mod_perl optimally for your web site
  • Porting and optimizing programs for a mod_perl environment
  • Performance tuning: getting the very fastest performance from your site
  • Controlling and monitoring the server to circumvent crashes and clogs
  • Integrating with databases efficiently and painlessly
  • Debugging tips and tricks
  • Maximizing security

The complete book is available online under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution Share-Alike License.

Next Section: 16 of the Best Free Perl Books - Part 2

This article is divided into four parts:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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Last Updated Sunday, September 29 2013 @ 10:30 AM EDT


We have written a range of guides highlighting excellent free books for popular programming languages. Check out the following guides: C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, HTML, Python, Ruby, Perl, Haskell, PHP, Lisp, R, Prolog, Scala, Scheme, Forth, SQL, Node.js (new), Fortran (new), Erlang (new), Pascal (new), and Ada (new).


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