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gav (2710)

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Hacker in NYC.

Journal of gav (2710)

Monday July 15, 2002
08:45 PM

Book Review: Perl & LWP

[ #6374 ]
Note: this is my first draft at a short review for Amazon, B&N etc. It's posted here both to pimp what I think is an excellent book, but also to motivate me to tidy it up, post it and finish off a longer review.

Perl & LWP -- Sean M. Burke

I was definatly intersted when I first heard that O'Reilly were publishing a book on LWP. LWP is a definitive collection of perl modules covering everything you could think of doing with URIs, HTML, and HTTP. While 'web services' are the buzzword friendly technology of the day, sometimes you need to roll your sleeves up and get a bit dirty scraping screens and hacking at HTML. For such a deep subject, this book weighs in at a slim 242 pages. This is a very good thing. I'm far too busy to read these massive shelf destroying tomes that seem to be churned out recently.

It covers everything you need to know with concise examples, which is what makes this book really shine. You start with the basics using LWP::Simple through to more advanced topics using LWP::UserAgent, HTTP::Cookies, and WWW::RobotRules. Sean shows finger saving tips and shortcuts that take you more than a couple notches above what you can learn from the lwpcook manpage, with enough depth to satisfy somebody who is an experianced LWP hacker.

This book is a great reference, just flick through and you'll find a relevant chapter with an example to save the day. Chapters include filling in forms and extracting data from HTML using regular expressions, then more advanced topics using HTML::TokeParser, and then my prefered tool, the author's own HTML::TreeBuilder. The book ends with a chapter on spidering, with excellent coverage of design and warnings to get your started on your web trawling.

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  • I would say it definitely saves *a* day.

    This reminds me that I need to whip up a review for this, especially since I was in on the tech review and Sean mentioned me in the book (he really didn't have to do that, heck, I got a free, awesome, well done book out of the deal).

    It really does elevate one's usage of LWP as well as HTML::TreeBuilder (and TokeParser which I really didn't understand/see the need for).