From Randal. In the preface of the first edition of Learning Perl, I acknowledged the Beaverton McMenamin's Cedar Hills Pub[*] just down the street from my house for the "rent-free booth-office space" while I wrote most of the draft on my Powerbook 140. Well, like wearing your lucky socks every day when your favorite team is in the play-offs, I wrote nearly all of this book (including these words) at the same brewpub, in hopes that the light of success of the first book will shine on me twice. (As I update this preface for the second edition, I can see that my lucky socks do indeed work!)
This McM's has the same great local microbrew beer and greasy sandwiches, but they've gotten rid of my favorite pizza bread, replacing it with new items like marionberry cobbler (a local treat) and spicy jambalaya. (And they added two booths and put in some pool tables.) Also, instead of the Powerbook 140, I'm using a Titanium Powerbook, with 1,000 times more disk, 500 times more memory, and a 200-times-faster CPU running a real Unix-based operating system (OS X) instead of the limited Mac OS. I also uploaded all of the draft sections (including this one) over my 144K cell-phone modem and emailed them directly to the reviewers, instead of having to wait to rush home to my 9600-baud external modem and phone line. How times have changed!
So, thanks once again to the staff of the McMenamin's Cedar Hills Pub for the booth space and hospitality.
Like the fourth edition of Learning Perl, I also owe much of what I'm saying here and how I'm saying it to the students of Stonehenge Consulting Services, who have given me immediate, precise feedback (by their glazed eyes and awkwardly constructed questions) when I was exceeding the "huh?" factor threshold. With that feedback over many dozens of presentations, I was able to keep refining and refactoring the materials that paved the way for this book.
Speaking of which, those materials started as a half-day "What's new in Perl 5?" summary commissioned by Margie Levine of Silicon Graphics, in addition to my frequently presented on-site, four-day Llama course (targeted primarily for Perl Version 4 at the time). Eventually, I got the idea to beef up those notes into a full course and enlisted fellow Stonehenge presenter Joseph Hall for the task. (He's the one who selected the universe from which the examples are drawn.) Joseph developed a two-day course for Stonehenge in parallel with his excellent Effective Perl Programming book, which we then used as the course textbook (until now).
Other Stonehenge instructors have also dabbled a bit in the "Packages, References, Objects, and Modules" course over the years, including Chip Salzenberg and Tad McClellan. But the bulk of the recent changes have been the responsibility of my senior trainer, Tom Phoenix, who has been "Stonehenge employee of the month" so often that I may have to finally give up my preferred parking space. Tom manages the materials (just as Tad manages operations) so I can focus on being the president and the janitor of Stonehenge.
Tom Phoenix contributed most exercises in this book and a timely set of review notes during my writing process, including entire paragraphs for me to just insert in place of the drivel I had written. We work well as a team, both in the classroom and in our joint writing efforts. It is for this effort that we've acknowledged Tom as a coauthor, but I'll take direct blame for any parts of the book you end up hating: none of that could have possibly been Tom's fault.
And last but not least, a special thanks to my business partner, brian d foy, who herded this book into its second revision and wrote most of the changes between the previous edition and this edition.
Of course, a book is nothing without a subject and a distribution channel, and for that I must acknowledge longtime associates Larry Wall and Tim O'Reilly. Thanks, guys, for creating an industry that has paid for my essentials, discretionary purchases, and dreams for nearly 15 years.
And, as always, a special thanks to Lyle and Jack for teaching me nearly everything I know about writing and convincing me that I was much more than a programmer who might learn to write: I was also a writer who happened to know how to program. Thank you.
And to you, the reader of this book, for whom I toiled away the countless hours while sipping a cold microbrew and scarfing down a piece of incredible cheesecake, trying to avoid spilling on my laptop keyboard: thank you for reading what I've written. I sincerely hope I've contributed (in at least a small way) to your Perl proficiency. If you ever meet me on the street, please say "Hi."[*] I'd like that. Thank you.
From brian. I have to thank Randal first, since I learned Perl from the first edition of Learning Perl, and learned the rest teaching the Llama and Alpaca courses for Stonehenge Consulting. Teaching is often the best way to learn.
I convinced Randal that we should update Learning Perl, and when we got done with that, I told him it was time to update this book. Our editor, Allison Randal, agreed and did the best she could to keep us on schedule.
Special non-Perl thanks to Stacey, Buster, Mimi, Roscoe, Amelia, Lila, and everyone else who tried to distract me while I was busy but still talked to me, even though I couldn't come out to play.
From Both of Us. Thanks to our reviewers, David H. Adler, Stephen Jenkins, Kevin Meltzer, Matthew Musgrove, Andrew Savige, and Ricardo Signes, for providing comments on the draft of this book.
Thanks also to our many students who have let us know what parts of the course material have needed improvement over the years. It's because of you that we're all so proud of it today.
Thanks to the many Perl Mongers who have made us feel at home as we've visited your cities. Let's do it again sometime.
And finally, our sincerest thanks to our friend Larry Wall, for having the wisdom to share his really cool and powerful toys with the rest of the world so that we can all get our work done just a little bit faster, easier, and with more fun.