Perl Cookbook

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Acknowledgments

This book wouldn't exist but for a legion of people standing, knowing and unknowing, behind the authors. At the head of this legion would have to be our editor, Linda Mui, carrot on a stick in one hand and a hot poker in the other. She was great.

As the author of Perl, Larry Wall was our ultimate reality check. He made sure we weren't documenting things he was planning to change and helped out on wording and style.[2] If now and then you think you're hearing Larry's voice in this book, you probably are.

[2] And footnotes.

Larry's wife, Gloria, a literary critic by trade, shocked us by reading through every single word - and actually liking most of them. Together with Sharon Hopkins, resident Perl Poetess, she helped us rein in our admittedly nearly insatiable tendency to produce pretty prose sentences that could only be charitably described as lying somewhere between the inscrutably complex and the hopelessly arcane, eventually rendering the meandering muddle into something legible even to those whose native tongues were neither PDP-11 assembler nor Mediśval Spanish.

Our three most assiduous reviewers, Mark-Jason Dominus, Jon Orwant, and Abigail, have worked with us on this book nearly as long as we've been writing it. Their rigorous standards, fearsome intellects, and practical experience in Perl applications have been of invaluable assistance. Doug Edwards methodically stress-tested every piece of code from the first seven chapters of the book, finding subtle border cases no one else ever thought about. Other major reviewers include Andy Dougherty, Andy Oram, Brent Halsey, Bryan Buus, Gisle Aas, Graham Barr, Jeff Haemer, Jeffrey Friedl, Lincoln Stein, Mark Mielke, Martin Brech, Matthias Neeracher, Mike Stok, Nate Patwardhan, Paul Grassie, Peter Prymmer, RaphaŽl Manfredi, and Rod Whitby.

And this is just the beginning. Part of what makes Perl fun is the sense of community and sharing it seems to engender. Many selfless individuals lent us their technical expertise. Some read through complete chapters in formal review. Others provided insightful answers to brief technical questions when we were stuck on something outside our own domain. A few even sent us code. Here's a partial list of these helpful people: Aaron Harsh, Ali Rayl, Alligator Descartes, Andrew Hume, Andrew Strebkov, Andy Wardley, Ashton MacAndrews, Ben Gertzfield, Benjamin Holzman, Brad Hughes, Chaim Frenkel, Charles Bailey, Chris Nandor, Clinton Wong, Dan Klein, Dan Sugalski, Daniel Grisinger, Dennis Taylor, Doug MacEachern, Douglas Davenport, Drew Eckhardt, Dylan Northrup, Eric Eisenhart, Eric Watt Forste, Greg Bacon, Gurusamy Sarathy, Henry Spencer, Jason Ornstein, Jason Stewart, Joel Noble, Jonathan Cohen, Jonathan Scott Duff, Josh Purinton, Julian Anderson, Keith Winstein, Ken Lunde, Kirby Hughes, Larry Rosler, Les Peters, Mark Hess, Mark James, Martin Brech, Mary Koutsky, Michael Parker, Nick Ing-Simmons, Paul Marquess, Peter Collinson, Peter Osel, Phil Beauchamp, Piers Cawley, Randal Schwartz, Rich Rauenzahn, Richard Allan, Rocco Caputo, Roderick Schertler, Roland Walker, Ronan Waide, Stephen Lidie, Steven Owens, Sullivan Beck, Tim Bunce, Todd Miller, Troy Denkinger, and Willy Grimm.

And let's not forget Perl itself, without which this book could never have been written. Appropriately enough, we used Perl to build endless small tools to aid in the production of this book. Perl tools converted our text in pod format into troff for displaying and review and into FrameMaker for production. Another Perl program ran syntax checks on every piece of code in the book. The Tk extension to Perl was used to build a graphical tool to shuffle around recipes using drag-and-drop. Beyond these, we also built innumerable smaller tools for tasks like checking RCS locks, finding duplicate words, detecting certain kinds of grammatical errors, managing mail folders with feedback from reviewers, creating program indices and tables of contents, and running text searches that crossed line boundaries or were restricted to certain sections - just to name a few. Some of these tools found their way into the same book they were used on.

Tom

Thanks first of all to Larry and Gloria for sacrificing some of their European vacation to groom the many nits out of this manuscript, and to my other friends and family  - Bryan, Sharon, Brent, Todd, and Drew  - for putting up with me over the last couple of years and being subjected to incessant proofreadings.

I'd like to thank Nathan for holding up despite the stress of his weekly drives, my piquant vegetarian cooking and wit, and his getting stuck researching the topics I so diligently avoided.

I'd like to thank those largely unsung titans in our field  - Dennis, Linus, Kirk, Eric, and Rich  - who were all willing to take the time to answer my niggling operating system and troff questions. Their wonderful advice and anecdotes aside, without their tremendous work in the field, this book could never have been written.

Thanks also to my instructors who sacrificed themselves to travel to perilous places like New Jersey to teach Perl in my stead. I'd like to thank Tim O'Reilly and Frank Willison first for being talked into publishing this book, and second for letting time-to-market take a back seat to time-to-quality. Thanks also to Linda, our shamelessly honest editor, for shepherding dangerously rabid sheep through the eye of a release needle.

Most of all, I want to thank my mother, Mary, for tearing herself away from her work in prairie restoration and teaching high school computer and biological sciences to keep both my business and domestic life in smooth working order long enough for me to research and write this book.

Finally, I'd like to thank Johann Sebastian Bach, who was for me a boundless font of perspective, poise, and inspiration  - a therapy both mental and physical. I am certain that forevermore the Cookbook will evoke for me the sounds of BWV 849, now indelibly etched into the wetware of head and hand.

Nat

Without my family's love and patience, I'd be baiting hooks in a 10-foot swell instead of mowing my lawn in suburban America. Thank you! My friends have taught me much: Jules, Amy, Raj, Mike, Kef, Sai, Robert, Ewan, Pondy, Mark, and Andy. I owe a debt of gratitude to the denizens of Nerdsholm, who gave sound technical advice and introduced me to my wife (they didn't give me sound technical advice on her, though). Thanks also to my employer, Front Range Internet, for a day job I don't want to quit.

Tom was a great co-author. Without him, this book would be nasty, brutish, and short. Finally, I have to thank Jenine. We'd been married a year when I accepted the offer to write, and we've barely seen each other since then. Nobody will savour the final full-stop in this sentence more than she.


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