The most widely recognized guides for learning the Perl language are Learning Perl by Randal Schwartz and Tom Christiansen and Programming Perl by Perl’s creator Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randal Schwartz. Both books are published by O’Reilly & Associates (http://www.ora.com) and have recently been updated for Perl 5 (be sure you get the second edition). Learning Perl (a.k.a. The Llama Book) offers a carefully paced introduction to the language, and Programming Perl (a.k.a. The Camel Book) offers a fast-paced romp through the gory details. Although these books present Perl from a UNIX systems programming perspective, most of the content applies to NT as well.
What you won’t find in these texts is specific Perl for Win32 information. To help fill this void, O’Reilly & Associates will soon be releasing Learning Perl for Win32 by Eric Olsen and Tom Christiansen (which should be in print by the time you read this). Its approach will be similar to the Llama book, more of a beginner’s tutorial than a reference. O’Reilly is also planning to release Perl resource kits for both the UNIX and NT flavors.
For information about Perl’s regular expressions, you may want to pick up Jeffery Friedl’s Mastering Regular Expressions (O’Reilly & Associates). However, for most people, the coverage in either The Llama Book or The Camel Book is sufficient.
You can find enormous amounts of information about Perl on the Web. Two of the more popular starting points are The Perl Language Home Page (http://www.perl.com/perl/index.html) and the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, commonly referred to as CPAN (http://www.perl.com/CPAN/). CPAN is considered the global repository for Perl stuff. Here you’ll find code, utilities, FAQs, documentation, and of course the entire Perl distribution. Unfortunately, the majority of content on CPAN is UNIX based. The growing number of Perl for Win32 modules have not yet found their way to CPAN, although this will most certainly change in the future.
Information specific to Perl for Win32 is located in several places. The following Web resources are must-sees as you continue your journey toward Perl for Win32 wizardry.
| ActiveState Tool |
|Provides Perl for Win32 distribution, currently at version 5, build 307 (download pw32i307.exe). The self-extracting archive includes the Perl interpreter and standard libraries, most of the Win32 modules, and HTML documentation.|
| The Roth Consulting Perl Home Page |
|Home of Dave Roth’s famous Win32 ODBC and AdminMisc packages.|
| Dada Meets Perl! |
|Aldo Calpini’s Win32 Internet and API modules, among others, with supporting documentation. Aldo has several impressive Perl scripts available for download from his home page. One such script demonstrates how to use Perl to control NT services via the Web.|
| The P. Le Berre Personal Web Server |
|A very helpful site created by Philippe Le Berre that contains how-to information for the Win32 EventLog, Registry, Services, and other miscellaneous packages.|
| Joseph L. Casadonte, Jr.’s Perl for Win32 |
|This site has little information of its own but represents the best Perl for Win32 links page we’ve seen so far. It neatly organizes the efforts of a lot of other people and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for as well as find out about things you never knew existed.|