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This beautifully laid out book assumes nothing from the reader, and ensures that every concept required by the novice is covered.
It takes you in wonderful detail through the challenge of understanding what a program is, how it is made and how to run it. Best of all, the entire book is available free of charge online, (like Perl itself). There is also a printed version that you can buy.
However, if you already understand most of the concepts covered in the introductory chapters, the balance of the book covers more advanced topics in greater and greater detail. The author succeeds in maintaining a balance throughout the book that is not often achieved in introductory texts. Instead of the entire book being pitched at an annoying 'Learn language X in 24 hours' style, the content just gets richer and richer, but not at too fast a pace for the novice working his or her way patiently through the chapters.
"Techniques for data recognition, parsing, transformation and filtering".
From the back cover:
This book shows you how to process data productively with Perl. It discusses general munging techniques and how to think about data munging problems. You will learn how to decouple the various stages of munging programs, how to design data structures, how to emulate the Unix filter model, etc. If you need to work with complex data formats it will teach you how to do that and also how to build your own tools to process these formats. The book includes detailed techniques for processing HTML and XML. And, it shows you how to build your own parsers to process data of arbitrary complexity.
If you are a programmer who munges data, this book will save you time. It will teach you systematic and powerful techniques using Perl. If you are not a Perl programmer, this book may just convince you to add Perl to your repertoire.
A great resource - highly recommended. Chapters include:
perldoc -q books