Higher Order Perl: A Book Review

by Mark W. Rutz

Title: Higher Order Perl

Author: Mark Jason Dominus

Publisher: Morgan Kaufman

ISBN: 1-55860-701-3
Price: $59.95


Do you find that your Perl programs bear a striking resemblance to code you've
written in other languages? Have your Perl programming skills reached a
plateau? Do you want to take your next big step in understanding Perl? If you
answered yes to one or more of these questions, then
Higher Order Perl (HOP) by Mark Jason Dominus should be
the next book on your purchase list.

A significant number of Perl programmers have their origins in system
administration. They began their careers writing code in C, awk and other
languages. As a result, many continue to write their Perl programs as if they
are writing the code in C. The goal of HOP is to teach experienced Perl
programmers the features that separate Perl from other programming languages
and how to put them to good use. As Dominus states, "Perl is much better at
being Perl than it is at being a slow version of C."

HOP is written for experienced Perl programmers. Dominus dives right in with
advanced techniques in the first chapter. So, you need to be capable of
following code that makes use of all the standard Perl tools and data
structures in order to grasp the ideas he is attempting to convey. If you are
starting your journey with Perl, save HOP for a future trip. But, if
you've been on the road for a while, this is just the book to liven things up.

This book is packed with valuable tips and techniques. Each topic is discussed
in depth, with plenty of code examples and descriptions to keep the reader up to
speed. That being said, be sure to carefully read and comprehend the examples.
You will quickly become lost if you don't, because each section builds on
previous topics. Dominus does his best to feed your brain slowly, but at some
point it's up to you to follow along.

Dominus writes with the functional programmer in mind, but those who prefer
other programming styles will find plenty of value in
HOP. Most, if not all,
of the functional programs and techniques can be adapted to object oriented and
other styles with minor tweaks. The topics cover a wide range of advanced
skills that will be appreciated by everyone. He successfully relates a great
deal of knowledge to be used by all Perl programmers, no matter which
styles they prefer.

Mark Jason Dominus has hit his mark with Higher Order
. It is a very informative book that is a must read for Perl programmers who want to take
their skills to the next level. Be sure to check out
the book's Web site for
further information. The site provides full-text search, all the code
examples, an up-to-date errata list, mailing lists and much more.

Mark Rutz has been a practicing Perl programmer since 1999. He spends
his days working with Perl, Apache, MySQL and PostgreSQL and his nights
playing pool, riding his motorcycle and cheering on the Ravens. Your
comments are welcome at z3driver@hotmail.com.

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