Technical BooksThese are some of my personal recommendations for technical books in various subjects. Keep in mind that these are the books I like; you may disagree or have other favorites.
- Programming Perl
Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant
O'Reilly & Assoc., 3rd Ed.
The canonical Perl book. This is the definitive reference for Perl. That's the good news :-) On the other hand, this is a reference book, not a teaching book. It tends to assume you're already a programmer, it assumes you are using Unix perl, and it assumes you are familiar with the Unix documentation philosphy (that is, once you figure out what's going on, you realize that the documentation is accurate and reasonably complete after all! :-)
If you are going to become a Perl programmer, you must have this book. Be sure to get the 3rd edition (turquoise) and try for the latest printings (the book is updated frequently).
If you already have the first or 2nd edition, donate it to a library and buy the 3rd edition. It's been renovated and reworked and is superior in every way (except one; they all cover Perl). But, for this book, owning a "first edition" isn't special; it's the content that counts!
- Learning Perl
O'Reilly & Assoc., 2nd Ed.
Learning Perl is more of a teaching book than a reference, concentrating more on breadth and explanation than depth and completeness. If you've just begun to learn Perl, this is probably a good book to start with. If you don't have much programming experience, this is one of the better books around.
Experienced programmers will probably read quickly through Learning Perl, then replace it on their shelves, taking it down only to lend it to friends learning Perl.
It's a good book, however, and deserves a place on any complete Perl bookshelf.
- Advanced Perl Programming
O'Reilly & Assoc.
Advanced Perl Programming covers the esoteric periphery of Perl, the things the authors of Programming Perl had to leave out in order to keep their book of reasonable size and usability!
Consider this as "volume 2" of Programming Perl. If you expect to write a lot of Perl programs, you want this book.
- MacPerl: Power and Ease
Vicki Brown, Chris Nandor
Prime Time Freeware
(shameless plug :-) Not only is this the only Perl book to concentrate on the Macintosh port of Perl (MacPerl), we think we've done a good job of writing an introductory book on Perl (and we've got the reviews and comments from readers to back us up!).
If you don't have much (or any!) prior programming experience, Part I makes no assumptions. Part II introduces Perl programming. Part III concentrates on more advanced, Macintosh-specific, subjects. If you have a Macintosh, this is the book for you.
- Camel Critiques
Tom Christiansen's reviews of many Perl books.
- Mastering Regular Expressions
O'Reilly & Assoc.
Regular expressions are an important part of many of today's higher level languages, including Perl, Python, Tcl... This book does an excellent job of delving into the depths of regular expressions.
If you are a programmer, get this book. If you're new to programming, start with the chapters in Programming Perl, The Awk Programming Language or any of several other language books. You'll want to start slow!
- The Awk Programming Language
Alfred Aho, Brian Kernighan, Peter Weinberger
Written by the authors of awk (A. W. and K.), this book covers the awk programming language in depth.
If you write Unix shell scripts, awk is a great little language. If you write awk scripts, you'll want this book on your shelf.
- Tcl and the Tk Toolkit
Written by the author of Tcl/Tk, this book will tell you what you need to know.
- Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk
Brent was a PhD student of Dr. Ousterhout's when Tcl was born. This book "is meant as a practical guide to help you get the most out of Tcl and Tk and avoid some of the frustrations [the aauthor] experienced.". With an 8-page List of Examples (referenced by page), how can you go wrong?
Web / HTML / CGI
- How to Set Up and Maintain a Web Site
(second edition) Addison Wesley
A book without peer. If you plan to set up and/or maintain a web site you need this book.
- CGI Programming on the World Wide Web
O'Reilly & Assoc.
This is a nice clear book that covers the basics of CGI programming, using examples in Perl. It also addresses Server Side Includes.
- Webmaster in a Nutshell
Stephan Spainhour and Valerie Quercia
(second edition) O'Reilly & Assoc.
This is a desktop reference. It doesn't go into a lot of detail, but it covers a lot. If you're creating web pages with an editor (not one of those supposedly WYSIWYG programs), you'll want this book.
- The Unix Programming Environment
Brian Kernighan, Rob Pike
Published in late 1983, this remains the best book on using Unix that I can name. It's oriented to the programmer; this is _not_ "Unix for Dummies". There's still alot of good stuff in here, although some of it is becoming rather dated. We really wish the authors could do an updated edition... sigh :-(