I've always wanted to be a writer. In childhood I was obsessed with science fiction. I read constantly, sometimes three paperbacks a day, and every so often, wrote some (bad) stories myself . In 1985, I attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' workshop in East Lansing, Michigan. Afterward, I spent a year or so occasionally working on short story manuscripts, but never published any fiction . (Not yet, anyway!)
Later on, when I had settled down into a career in software, I met Randal Schwartz. I hired him as a contractor on an engineering project and worked with him for over a year. Eventually he left to pursue teaching Perl full time. After a while, so did I.
In May 1996, I had a conversation with Keith Wollman at a developer's conference in San Jose. When we drifted onto the topic of Perl, he asked me what I would think of a book called Effective Perl . I liked the idea. Scott Meyers's Effective C++ was one of my favorite books on C++, and extending the series to cover Perl would obviously be useful. I couldn't get Keith's idea out of my head. With some help from Randal, I worked out a proposal for the book, and Addison-Wesley accepted it.
The restwell, that was the fun part. I spent many 12- hour days and nights with FrameMaker in front of the computer screen, asked lots of annoying questions on the Perl 5 Porters list, posted many bug reports to the same list, looked through dozens of books and manuals, wrote many, many little snippets of Perl code, and drank many, many cans of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I even had an occasional epiphany as I discovered very basic things about Perl I had never realized I was missing. After a while, a manuscript emerged.
This book is my attempt to share with the rest of you some of the fun and stimulation I experienced while learning the power of Perl. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to read it, and I hope you will find it useful and enjoyable.
Joseph N. Hall