Among other things, this book is about 260 pages long. It is also a gentle introduction to Perl. By the
time you've gone through this book, you'll have touched on the majority of the simpler operations and
common 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 growing unmanageably large, we've been selective about covering only those constructs and issues
that you're most likely to use early in your Perl programming career.
As a prelude to your more advanced study, however, we've included a heavier chapter at the end of the
book. It's about CGI programming, but along the way, it touches upon library modules, references, and
object-oriented programming in Perl. We hope it whets your appetite for these more advanced topics.
Each chapter ends with a series of exercises designed to help you practice what you have just read. If you
read at a typical pace and do all the exercises, you should be able to get through each chapter in about
two to three hours, or about 30 to 40 hours for the entire book.
This book is meant to be a companion volume to the classic Programming Perl, Second Edition, by Larry
Wall, Randal L. Schwartz, and Tom Christiansen, published by O'Reilly & Associates, the complete
reference book on the language.