Book Review: "Web Client Programming with Perl" by Wong

Book Review: "Web Client Programming with Perl" by Wong

Post by Rob Slad » Sat, 15 Nov 1997 04:00:00


"Web Client Programming with Perl", Clinton Wong, 1997, 1-56592-214-X,
%A   Clinton Wong
%C   103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA   95472
%D   1997
%G   1-56592-214-X
%I   O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

%P   228
%T   "Web Client Programming with Perl"

I admit it, I did not pay enough attention to the title.  I assumed
this had something to do with forms or other Web *server* programming.
But the title is correct: this book teaches you how to write *clients*
for the Web.

What, program your own browser?  Well, maybe.  What the author
concentrates on, though, is development of small, specialty utilities.
Why fire up a browser, and navigate menus and screens, when what you
really want is simple confirmation of package delivery?  You don't
actually want to read everyday --
only when a new version comes out and the page changes.  Or, perhaps,
you are simply obsessive and want to check AltaVista every morning to
see if anyone has put up a Web page about you overnight.  All of this
is much simpler and quicker with a utility than a full browser.
(Besides, a utility can work in the background.)

After an introduction, chapters two and three cover HTTP (HyperText
Transfer Protocol).  In and of itself, this is worth the book, since
so few HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and even CGI (Common Gateway
Interface) texts do a decent job of it.  Wong then goes on to cover
sockets programming aspects of Perl and the LWP (Library for WWW
access in Perl).  Chapter six has sample LWP programs, while seven
shows graphical interfaces with Tk.  Appendices list HTTP headers,
reference tables, and the Robot Exclusion Standard.

Overall, a useful book in many ways, and readable as well.  The book
may be of particular interest to those dealing with intranet
application development.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997   BKWBCLPR.RVW   970507

link to virus, book info at
Author "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses" 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER)


1. Book Review: "CGI Programming on the World Wide Web"

BKCGIPW3.RVW   960523

"CGI Programming on the World Wide Web", Shishir Gundavaram, 1996,
1-56592-168- 2, U$29.95/C$42.95

%C   103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA   95472
%D   1996
%G   1-56592-168-2
%I   O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

%P   433
%S   Nutshell Handbook
%T   "CGI Programming on the World Wide Web"

The author has put together very comprehensive coverage of CGI (Common
Gateway Interface) programming, touching on basic forms, server and
CGI includes, graphics and multimedia, advanced and multiple forms,
gateways, and database queries.  In addition, while the bulk of the
examples are in Perl, there are comparative samples of C, Visual
Basic, and Applescript sources.

Unfortunately, Gundavaram does not handle the basics as well as the
fancy stuff.  He relies too heavily on the code itself, while his
explanations and comments are unclear and unhelpful.  The "how" seems
to be left behind in the hurry to do something interesting.  The Perl
wizard will likely find it easy enough to follow the code, but the
beginning CGI programmer, however experienced in other areas, is going
to find the book very difficult.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1996   BKCGIPW3.RVW   960523. Distribution
permitted in TELECOM Digest and associated publications.

"We are all agreed that your theory is crazy.  The question which divides us is
whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.  My own feeling
is that it is not crazy enough."       -- Niels Bohr
Author "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses" 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER)


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