Looking for Learning Perl reviewers

I’ve got Learning Perl, 7th Edition building on O’Reilly’s Atlas system. That means I can start showing it to other people for comments and reviews. If you think that you’d like to be one of those people, send me an email (the first step being the sort who can find my email address).

I generally have some rules for this sort of participation to maximum my writing time and minimize duplication of responses. If you’d like to participate, I generally deal with reviewers under these guidelines:

  • I’m mostly looking for people to ensure I haven’t lied too much. You’re reviewing my Perl, mostly.
  • I’m mostly low-tech about this. I’ll send PDF attachments when I have them.
  • You aren’t required to do anything, because you have a life too. There’s only one deadline: the date O’Reilly takes the book away from me.
  • I don’t respond to your comments. I make the change or I don’t, but I need to focus on the book and not the reviewers.
  • I acknowledge everyone who helped—no matter the extent—in the front of the book. I can usually get you a free copy to show off to your friends and family.

We’re starting Learning Perl, 7th edition

The holiday season tends to find me writing Perl books. This time it’s the next edition of Learning Perl, last published for Perl v5.14. This time we’re targeting v5.24, and there are lots of exciting new features that we want to tell the new Perl users.


We can’t make promises at the beginning of the book, but here’s the rough idea so far:

  • Goodbye, smart match. We gave it a chapter, but now it’s experimental .
  • But, subroutine signatures! People are going to love those.
  • So, an appendix on experimental features. Or maybe a chapter. Mostly on how to enable them.
  • the /r modifier for s///
  • Removing most of the stuff that Perl has discarded without abandoning people using older versions.
  • Key-value slices, and slices, and splice.
  • The double diamond operator <<>>.
  • New Unicode regex stuff

I’ve done this too many times to promise a release date either, but late summer wouldn’t be a bad guess. When I get the current version into something editable and fixed up, I’ll start putting out review versions somehow. I don’t know how that will work yet.

Should we call it “Learning Perl 5″

Should we re-title Learning Perl to Learning Perl 5 for the next edition? How much of a fuss would we cause?

Our trick is to position our book for the major version of Perl that most everyone uses (Perl 5) next to the same sort of book for the mostly different language with the same name (Perl 6).

Up until now, we distinguished the version of the thing called “Perl” in a ribbon on the edge of the book. But, this thing called “Perl 6″ is out there and it’s not an upgrade to Perl 5 (unless you think of Perl as an upgrade to awk). The books aren’t going to be compatible and we don’t want people to buy the wrong book.

For most people using Perl as part of their job, they want the current track and not the Perl 6 one. However, at the same time, they aren’t going to realize the difference and go for the highest number.

Who has some good advice for us? We have a Survey Monkey survey (which might show up embedded right under this), or you can leave a comment.

The survey is closed with an overwhelming cry for renaming the book.

Sound out complex statements

Code reading is more important than code writing, and people’s lack of that skill is what often gets them in trouble. Six months after writing some code, you might not know why you coded something but you should know what you coded.

Consider this tidbit from Dan Lyke that we posted on Twitter: » Read more…

Learning Perl Challenge: Be better than Quorum (Answer)

Did you come up with something better than Quorum in the previous Learning Perl challenge? There’s been some spirited conversations since then and some surprising new information. » Read more…