After buying and owning "Programming Perl" Edition 1, 2 and 3, I pre-ordered Edition 4, newly released, and just got it in. This last version is a little bit thickier by about 60 pages than Edition 3, though I anticipated for more, given Edition 3 was published 12 years ago in 2000. There is an explanation for it. Read on !
Though this new Edition has received some edition attention, for the better, it is also my opinion, as a heavy Perl developer, that Edition 4 suffers an unfortunate shortcoming that new buyers are unlikely to fully appreciate unless they were acquainted with the previous edition. Indeed, the useful chapter "Standard Modules" has been removed from the 4th Edition despite it's overall usefulness.
Never having enough time, nor always having the time to Google-up or look-up around, which may be true for any effective developer, it had become a second nature to look-up this chapter in order to learn or simply be reminded about the most important modules that comprise the Perl standard distribution. For the same reason, it would also have made a useful addition to include to this new edition a small comprehensive chapter dedicated to summarizing the most important Perl evolutions since Perl 5.6. Hélas, whatever evolutions up to Per 5.14 are distilled throughout the overall book, making it more difficult to the seasoned Perl Programmer to find-out about what could prove new important things to know.
The missing chapter "Standard Modules" was only 50 pages in Edition 3, but I predict the loss will be big, for it will now be very time consuming, and more difficult, for Perl developers to apply the following advise found page 993 : "You'll save an enormous amount of time if you make the effort to familiarize yourself with the Standard Library, because there's no reason to reinvent those particular wheels."
Though I would have happilly paid a few bucks more for having this chapter included in the new edition, which made flipping through, glancing at, or simply reading, so interesting, for sake of discovering, learning, or simply be reminded, not including it is simply a big loss, and to me the first unfortunate shortcoming, but not the least, in O'Reilly 20 years almost perfect Perl support.
Is this a subtle indicator of lowering the overall quality ? The future will tell us !
But I'm disappointed.
Franck Porcher, Ph.D (Paris / Vancouver / Tahiti)
EMPLOYEE0Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment, and I'm sorry to hear that the new edition was a disappointment in this way. We really appreciate hearing from readers about the experience you have with our books. I've passed your comment on to the book's editor.