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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is virtually indistinguishable from magic."

Arthur C. Clarke

Remember this well: There's nothing magical about programming a computer.

Like anything that seems magical, there's always a trick to itand programming is no different. All you need are some analytical thinking skills, the desire to learn, and some time to learn Perl. The best way to learn how to program a computeror any task reallyis to have a goal. Your goal could be to spice up your Web pages, convert a program you already have to Perl, or to satisfy idle curiosityit doesn't really matter.

Now, given that you've established a goal and have some thinking skills, what does this book have for you?

This book will teach you the basics of the Perl programming language. You'll learn just enough Perl to do something useful. You will not be overwhelmed with details that, although interesting, will only get in your way and that you'll probably never use again. Each new concept in this book is demonstrated by lots of working code examples. Go aheadflip through the book and see.

But why Perl? Almost every company that uses programming of some kind uses Perl. Perl is found in finance, manufacturing, genetics, the military, and every other application known to humankind. And, of course, Perl is used on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Perl isn't going away any time soon, which is why learning it is an investment in your time that will pay off for years to come.

It's also possible to create really stunning Perl programs with just a small bit of code. Using a little bit of Perl to glue together other applications, languages, and technologies, you'll be creating useful Perl programs in no time.

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