Chapter 1. Introduction

Welcome to next step in your understanding of Perl. You're probably here either because you want to learn to write programs that are more than 100 lines long or because your boss has told you to do so.

See, our Learning Perl book was great because it introduced the use of Perl for short and medium programs (which is most of the programming done in Perl, we've observed). But, to avoid having "the Llama book" be as big and intimidating as "the Camel book," we left a lot of information out, deliberately and carefully.

In the pages that follow, you can get "the rest of the story" in the same style as our friendly Llama book. It covers what you need to write programs that are 100 to 10,000 lines long.

For example, you'll learn how to work with multiple programmers on the same project. This is great, because unless you work 35 hours each day, you'll need some help with larger tasks. You'll also need to ensure that your code all fits with the other code as it is developed for the final application.

This book will also show you how to deal with larger and more complex data structures, such as what we might casually call a "hash of hashes" or an "array of arrays of hashes of arrays."

And then there's the buzzworthy notion of object-oriented programming, which allows parts of your code (or hopefully code from others) to be reused with minor or major variations within the same program. The book will cover that as well, even if you've never seen objects before.

An important aspect of working in teams is having a release cycle and tests for unit and integration testing. You'll learn the basics of packaging your code as a distribution and providing unit tests for that distribution, both for development and for verifying that your code works in the ultimate end environment.

Hopefully, just as was promised and delivered in Learning Perl, you'll be entertained along the way by interesting examples and bad puns. (We've sent Fred and Barney and Betty and Wilma home, though. A new cast of characters will take the starring roles.)