This book is a gentle introduction to Perl. By the time you've gone through this book, you'll have touched on the majority of the most common operations and language idioms found in most Perl programs.
This book is not intended as a comprehensive guide to Perl - on the contrary, in order to keep the book from being yet another comprehensive reference guide, we've been selective about covering the things you are most likely to use early in your Perl hacking career. For more information, check out the voluminous and readily available Perl reference material. For obvious reasons, we recommend highly the companion volume to this book, Programming Perl, Second Edition, published by O'Reilly & Associates.
This book is based on the second edition of Learning Perl. We have removed some things that are not applicable to Perl programmers on Windows NT systems, and have added coverage of other things that are special to Windows NT. A wealth of Perl extensions for the Windows platforms exist; we have introduced some of the most important of these extensions, but we have again been selective in doing so.
Each chapter ends with a series of exercises to help you practice what you have just read. If you read at a typical pace, and do all of the exercises, you should be able to get through each chapter in about 2 or 3 hours, and finish the book in 40 or 50 hours.