Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.


Many programmers code by instinct, relying on convenient habits ora "style" they picked up early on. They aren't conscious of all thechoices they make, like how they format their source, the namesthey use for variables, or the kinds of loops they use. They'refocused entirely on problems they're solving, solutions they'recreating, and algorithms they're implementing. So they write codein the way that seems natural, that happens intuitively, and thatfeels good.

But if you're serious about your profession, intuition isn'tenough. Perl Best Practices author Damian Conway explainsthat rules, conventions, standards, and practices not only helpprogrammers communicate and coordinate with one another, they alsoprovide a reliable framework for thinking about problems, and acommon language for expressing solutions. This is especiallycritical in Perl, because the language is designed to offer manyways to accomplish the same task, and consequently it supports manyincompatible dialects.

With a good dose of Aussie humor, Dr. Conway (familiar to manyin the Perl community) offers 256 guidelines on the art of codingto help you write better Perl code--in fact, the best Perl code youpossibly can. The guidelines cover code layout, naming conventions,choice of data and control structures, program decomposition,interface design and implementation, modularity, objectorientation, error handling, testing, and debugging.

They're designed to work together to produce code that is clear,robust, efficient, maintainable, and concise, but Dr. Conwaydoesn't pretend that this is the one true universal and unequivocalset of best practices. Instead, Perl Best Practices offerscoherent and widely applicable suggestions based on real-worldexperience of how code is actually written, rather than onsomeone's ivory-tower theories on how software ought to becreated.

Most of all, Perl Best Practices offers guidelines thatactually work, and that many developers around the world arealready using. Much like Perl itself, these guidelines are abouthelping you to get your job done, without getting in the way.

Praise for Perl Best Practices from Perl communitymembers:

"As a manager of a large Perl project, I'd ensure that everymember of my team has a copy of Perl Best Practices on theirdesk, and use it as the basis for an in-house style guide." --Randal Schwartz

"There are no more excuses for writing bad Perl programs. Alllevels of Perl programmer will be more productive after readingthis book." -- Peter Scott

"Perl Best Practices will be the next big important bookin the evolution of Perl. The ideas and practices Damian lays downwill help bring Perl out from under the embarrassing heading of"scripting languages". Many of us have known Perl is a realprogramming language, worthy of all the tasks normally delegated toJava and C++. With Perl Best Practices, Damian shows specificallyhow and why, so everyone else can see, too." -- Andy Lester

"Damian's done what many thought impossible: show how to buildlarge, maintainable Perl applications, while still letting Perl bethe powerful, expressive language that programmers have loved foryears." -- Bill Odom

"Finally, a means to bring lasting order to the process andproduct of real Perl development teams." -- Andrew Sundstrom

"Perl Best Practices provides a valuable education in how towrite robust, maintainable Perl, and is a definitive citationsource when coaching other programmers." -- Bennett Todd "I've beenteaching Perl for years, and find the same question keeps beingasked: Where can I find a reference for writing reusable,maintainable Perl code? Finally I have a decent answer." -- PaulFenwick "At last a well researched, well thought-out, comprehensiveguide to Perl style. Instead of each of us developing our own, wecan learn good practices from one of Perl's most prolific andexperienced authors. I recommend this book to anyone who prefersgetting on with the job rather than going back and fixing errorscaused by syntax and poor style issues." -- Jacinta Richardson "Ifyou care about programming in any language read this book. Even ifyou don't intend to follow all of the practices, thinking throughyour style will improve it." -- Steven Lembark "The Perlcommunity's best author is back with another outstanding book.There has never been a comprehensive reference on high quality Perlcoding and style until Perl Best Practices. This book fillsa large gap in every Perl bookshelf." -- Uri Guttman

Subscriber Reviews

Average Rating: 4.375 out of 5 rating Based on 8 Ratings

"Should be titled <<perl good practices>>" - by Marco Munari on 23-JUN-2010
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
The book is for "good" practices, not "best" practices.

Many good advices, not all. Some even bad.

E.g. the way to organize the assignment symbol (=) to the next line, suggested in the book, can appear visually nice, but results a serious obstacle on searching for code that assigns to a specific namespace element.

Report as Inappropriate

Table of Contents



The publisher has provided additional content related to this title.


Visit the catalog page for Perl Best Practices

  • Catalog Page

Visit the errata page for Perl Best Practices

  • Errata

Download the supplemental electronic content for Perl Best Practices

  • Supplemental Content