We tried hard to make this book useful for both random and sequential access. Each recipe is
self-contained, but has a list of references at the end should you need further information on the topic.
We've tried to put the simpler, more common recipes toward the front of each chapter and the simpler
chapters toward the front of the book. Perl novices should find that these recipes about Perl's basic data
types and operators are just what they're looking for. We gradually work our way through topic areas and
solutions more geared toward the journeyman Perl programmer. Every now and then we include material
that should inspire even the master Perl programmer.
Each chapter begins with an overview of that chapter's topic. This introduction is followed by the main
body of each chapter, its recipes. In the spirit of the Perl slogan of TMTOWTDI, "There's more than one
way to do it," most recipes show several different techniques for solving the same or closely related
problems. These recipes range from short-but-sweet solutions to in-depth mini-tutorials. Where more
than one technique is given, we often show costs and benefits of each approach.
As with a traditional cookbook, we expect you to access this book more or less at random. When you
want to learn how to do something, you'll look up its recipe. Even if the exact solutions presented don't
fit your problem exactly, they'll give you ideas about possible approaches.
Each chapter concludes with one or more complete programs. Although some recipes already include
small programs, these longer applications highlight the chapter's principal focus and combine techniques
from other chapters, just as any real-world program would. All are useful, and many are used on a daily
basis. Some even helped us put this book together.