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reference library
Books about Perl  

In our opinion, Perl is the best language for programming CGI applications. It also happens to be a very easy language to learn if your background is not in computer science. However, like any computer language it does take study to master.

Learning Perl
by Randall Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
Though this was not written with CGI in mind, we consider this book one of the CGI Bibles. Everything I've learned comes initially from this book. It is written so well that an ex-Cultural Anthropologist (me) was able to learn programming in three months.

Learning Perl on Win32 Systems
by Randall Schwartz, Tom Christiansen and Erik Olsen
Everything we just said about Learning Perl goes for this book too, except specifically for those of you who are developing CGI on windows-based web servers. This book gives many helpful hints regarding the ins and outs of configuring and using Perl on Windows.

Programming Perl
by Randall Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
Like Learning Perl, Programming Perl is a must for every web developer's library. In this book Wall, Christiansen and Schwartz delve deeply into the inner workings (more advanced) of Perl. At times it reads like an API reference, but it is chock full of example code which will be useful to you in your daily work.

Advanced Perl Programming
by Sriram Srinivasan
This book covers complex techniques for managing production-ready Perl programs and explains methods for manipulating data and objects that may have looked like magic before. It gives you necessary background for dealing with networks, databases, and GUIs, and includes a discussion of internals to help you program more efficiently, and imbed Perl within C when necessary.

Perl 5 by Example
by David Medinets
This is an incredible online resource with a well thought out and well presented array of examples which will help any Perl 4 hacker figure out Perl 5 and any non-programmer make their way into the cutting edge of web programming. In the words of the author, "Perl 5 by Example will teach you how to use the Perl programming language by showing examples that demonstrate the concepts being discussed. The examples are designed to give you a chance to experiment-which in turn should clarify the material." And the whole thing online!

Perl by Example
by Ellie Quigley
This tutorial/reference is the ideal guide for UNIX professionals who want to (or must) learn Perl as quickly as possible. It goes through a whole host of tasks commonly asked of Perl in a clear and explained way so that you can quickly cut and paste solutions to your real problems.

Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days
by David Till
A behemoth of a book but pretty darn thick for the $30.00. This is the absolute perfect supplement for Learning and programming Perl with detailed and expansive examples. Once you have a good feel for the theory of perl, this book will help you to expand and expand and realize new creative ways to use the fundamentals. Published by SAMS Publishing.

Teach Yourself Perl 5 for Windows NT in 21 Days
by David Till
Everything we just said above goes for this book too, except specifically for those of you who are developing CGI on windows-based web servers. This book gives many helpful hints regarding the ins and outs of configuring and using Perl on Windows.
Books about HTML  
Okay, so if you are doing CGI programming, you probably already know HTML. However, every web developer should have a few good HTML reference guides available to make sure that dynamic HTML code is also good standardized code.

Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 4 in a Week
by Laura Lemay and published by SAMS
This is a perfect desk reference for any webmaster. Laura Lemay is one of my favorite technical writers because she is a writer and not a technician. The appendices of this tome are what we always want to have at my side because they go through all of the tags and color schemes. My copy was donated by Robin Rees at SAMS for my work with CGI, but it is well worth the buy.

Netscape and HTML Explorer
by Urban LeJeune and Jeff Duntemann, also published by Coriolis
This book is an excellent guide to building the Form part of the CGI. To many programmers get all excited about the code and forget that the code is to serve humans. The GUI is the more important thing to get right and Urb has some great pointers.

HTML: The Definitive Guide
by Muscianno and Kennedy and published by O'Reilly Press
This is a fantastic HTML desk reference for those of you who already have HTML snuggly under your belt. It does not waste your time with all of that "What is the WWW" filler junk that takes up most of the other HTML guides out there. Just the Tags m'am.

HTML Stylesheet Sourcebook
by Ian S. Graham
Ian Graham's HTML Stylesheet Sourcebook explains the how's and why's of cascading style sheets (CSS). Graham's writing style is easy to understand and he uses practical examples to support his message that CSS is a vast improvement over conventional HTML. You'll learn the finer points of formatting and how text can be displayed through different style sheets, radically altering the pages' presentations.
Books about CGI  
Okay, here are the books you probably came looking for. The following list represents the CGI books that we use in the office.

Introduction to CGI Perl
by Stephen Brenner and Edwin Aoki
This is absolutely the best introduction to CGI that you can get. Brenner is a fantastic author and even if you are an experienced CGI Programmer, you should buy the book to support the man who gave us cgi-lib.pl! Published by M&T.

Teach Yourself CGI Programming with Perl 5 in a Week
by Eric Herrman and published by Sams
A very good read. Filled with lots of great, working example scripts and excellent discussions of Server Side Includes, CGI Libraries, and Image Maps. There is also a Perl 4 version.

CGI Programming on the World Wide Web
by Shishir Gundavaram and published by O'Reilly
It is a great book for the intermediate to advanced level programmer. Particularly valuable was the discussion of the gd library and non-parsed headers.

CGI Programming in C & Perl
by Thomas Boutell and published by Addison Wesley
It is a fantastic book for the beginner and advanced programmer. The first five chapters are very useful for a beginner who is trying to figure out the very basics of how to install a CGI, and the last half includes detailed step by step looks through real applications. (Note: Luis Magdaleno warns that there are some bugs in the code distributed in the book...I did not try to run any of his scripts as much as used them for the ideas they set forward, so we can't say one way or another).

World Wide Web Programming with HTML and CGI
by Ed Tittel, Mark Gaither, Sebastian Hassinger and Mike Erwin
Excellent discussion of GET, POST and environmental variables. The book also has a good section on choosing a CGI programming language. My pet peeve about most CGI books is that they do not spend enough time on teaching people how to "think" about programming, they only teach how to "do". If you are just starting out, believe us, it is not a waste of your time. Published by Programmers Press.
Books about Web Server Management  
We have found the following books very useful when dealing with server issues such as logs and security. Even if you are not the systems administrator of the site you are working on, it makes sense to have at least some idea how everything is working in support of your CGI.

How to Set Up and Maintain a WWW Site
by Lincoln D. Stein
This book is a MUST if you are a Web Administrator. Absolutely inspirational sections on security and configuration. Published by Addison-Wesley. The sister volume can be found here.

Serving The Web
by Robert Jon Mudry and published by Coriolis Group Books
This was one of my first CGI Books. It was particularly useful when trying to understand how data gets sent from an HTML form to a CGI script and how the CGI script parses out the incoming data into a format useful for processing.
Books about Graphics  
There is no excuse for cruddy interfaces. You have plenty of extremely powerful and simple to use graphics generation applications at your disposal and with a few tricks you can create a professional looking site.

Creating Great Web Graphics
by Laurie McCanna and published by MIS Press
Not that my graphics are particularly swank, but then again, when do we have time to practice! This is a fantastic resource for those of you with Corel PhotoPaint or Adobe Photoshop. It has step by step instructions on how to use all of those fancy features to make professional looking graphics.

Interface Design with Photoshop
by J. Scott Hamlin
This book has some excellent examples of interfaces that you can build using Photoshop. It also discusses some of the more theoretical issues which should be considered when you design your app.

Web Concept and Design
by Crystal Waters
This book looks broadly at web site design and development. Covering everything from layout ideology to color usage, this book provides excellent guides for any web developer. By the way, this is much more theoretical than hands on. There are not cool graphics techniques in this book...instead, the book focuses on the planning and design that happens before the graphics are actually created.

Creating Killer Web Sites
Another excellent design focussed book
We have actually used some of these templates for our own pages. The advice offered here is very good. Unlike "Web Concept and Design" however, this book actually walks you through the development of the graphics.

Deconstructing Web Graphics
by Lynda Weinmann
Hey, anything by Lynda Weinmann is a buy. However, this is definitely one of the more advanced design concept books out there so be ready to sit down with it for awhile. The book actually walks you backward through the development of some very interesting sample sites.

Designing Web Graphics
by Lynda Weinmann
Another Lynda Weinmann book. This book is full of down right essential bits of information for any web designer. It incorporates her other book Coloring Web Graphics so it is all you need in one book.

Photoshop Bundle-Photoshop Type Magic 2/Photoshop Effects Magic/HTML Web Magic
This set of books is a definite buy. In 5 volumes, several experienced Photoshop magicians go step by step through pretty much every type of web graphic you will want to create from drop shadowed three dimensional text to custom buttons lines and bullets. Applying their cookbook instructions to your own situation is as easy as can be.
Magazines, Papers, and Journals  
Here are some of the things we subscribe to at the office:

Web Techniques Magazine
If you are an intermediate or advanced CGI Programmer, there is absolutely no reason to not get a subscription to this...an invaluable resource in my opinion.

If you are a web professional we can recommend no better rag to get a subscription to than Computerworld. Writing is short and to the point and keeps you updated on all the newest trends, employment opportunities and news stories. After all, web programming is a business, and in business, you gotta keep up with things beyond the code.

What can we say, WIRED has been obnoxious and brilliant over the years. Regardless, it is a good source for some more in depth coverage of the industry and its affects on the broader culture.

Web Designers Gazette
The Web Designers Gazette is a free monthly online publication focusing on web design issues. Whether you are interested in web design, a professional designer, or a businesses considering a launch onto the Internet; the Gazette is published for you. Contained within are articles written by web design professionals ranging from informative to educational, and entertaining.

Mondo 2000
This has very little to do with the industry, but everything about how your life will be changed over the next 50 years because of the industry. Even if you are swamped with deadlines and bug fixes, it is important to always keep yourself abreast of grander cultural, philosophical issues that affect your life in unseen ways.
Java Books  
I know Java may seem really intimidating and buggy to a lot of you, but it is in your best interest to get down and play with the language because eventually, it will take off.

Java Quick Reference
by Michael Afergan
This is an excellent API reference guide. Compact, simple to use, and complete. What else could you ask for. It is not a book to learn Java from, but once you know it, you will use it all the time. It is published by Que.

Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days
As expected, it took Selena more than 21 days to get through this book, but it was worth it. In the typical Laura Lemay Style, the text is crisp and unintimidating. We recommend this especially to someone who has had no formal programming education and may just be a Perl hacker like me. Sams Press.

he Java FAQ
This is a fantastic read. It is not so much a reference as an informational book that you can read through on an airplane ride to your next job interview. It is packed with interesting and useful tidbits to make your life easier and your programs more efficient.

1001 Java Programming Tips
by Chan, Griffith, and Iasi
Put out by Jamsa Press, this book is an outstanding collection of answers to extremely frequently asked programming questions. Don't let the exceptionally ugly cover fool you. We have used this book time and time again to cut and paste standard routines into my own applets.

Core Java
The essential beginning-intermediate guide to Java programming from Sunsoft. This is a pretty intense read, so give yourself some time to work through it. We have seen it used in several Java classes and having spoken with teachers, can say that they have all been happy with it.

Abstract Data Types in Java
by Michael S. Jenkins
This is a truly awesome book that covers some of the more theoretical aspects of computer programming like trees, arrays, vectors, etc... It is written plainly and has many good examples that are carefully spelled out. We recommend this to any web developer interested in going into intermediate level design.
Miscellaneous Recommendations  
Ah well, here are some other things you might be interested in while you are at the local bookstore:

Programming in ANSI C
by Stephen G. Kochan, published by Hayden Books
Whenever we have to do something in C, this is the book we use as reference. Well written and not a chore to decrypt.

Data Structures, Algorithms, and Software Principles in C
by Thomas A. Standish
If you have not gone to school to learn computer programming, we recommend you get this and read it. It represents the 101 course you missed and is written well enough that you don't need a professor to explain it.

Recursive Algorithms
by Richard Lorentz
If you have finished the Standish book above, you should get this book next. This is a more high level discussion of recursion and data structures used in recursion. To iterate is mortal. To recurse is divine.

Mastering Regular Expressions
by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Once you are comfortable with the syntax of Perl, it is time for you to begin to utilize the true power. Regular expressions are perhaps the most important topic to master within the Perl CGI universe. This book has it all.

Inside UNIX
by Chris Hare et al
No CGI Programmer should be without a good thick UNIX manual. This is the one we use because it has a good section explaining all the commands as well as great discussions of permissions and sed and awk (two tools that are my best friends when doing major HTML template renovations). Published by NRP.

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World
by Kevin Kelly
Don't read this to learn CGI Programming, read it cause it is a f**king great book. Published by Addison-Wesley.

by Frank Herbert
The best sci-fi book of all time.