Squirrel Logo

History of the Perl Reference Guide

Johan Vromans


This page describes the history of the Perl Reference Guide, as far as I have been able to reconstruct it from memory, guided by ancient printouts and email messages. Some parts may be incomplete, or even incorrect. If you have any additional info (or very old postings, e.g. before 4.019) let me (jvromans@squirrel.nl) know!

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2010 2011

December 1988

First public release of a preliminary version of the "Perl Reference Card", based on Perl 2.0, patchlevel 18.

It was made up using TeX and the printed output, 4 pages with 3 columns each, had a natural TeX look with Computer Modern fonts. The layout was copied from the GNU Emacs reference card.

It can be considered the first printed material on Perl (it was explicitly intended to be printed and used in printed form) and therefore the longest running publication on Perl.

It was not straightforward to get this distributed, since it was not exactly 'source' like Perl. The moderators of the comp.sources newsgroups rejected it, so I had to use alt.sources.

Dating: I have a printout of a version modified by Kaja P. Christiansen and Peder Chr. Noergaard timestamped "Dec 19 13:22 1988". This indicates that the release took place before this date. My estimate is December 14th, since I have a printout of the TeX source timestamped "Dec 14 21:07 1988".

Early 1989

First public release of the "Perl 2.0 Reference Card" revised for patchlevel 18.

Frustrated by the limited results I could get with TeX (my limitations, not TeX's), I redid the Reference Card using a Desktop Publishing tool called RagTime on Macintosh.

It was distributed in PostScript format only, and printed 4 pages of 3 columns each. I assume it required A4 paper for printing.

November 1989

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.4.1 for Perl version 3.0 pl 4.

I changed the name to "Guide" instead of "Card" since it grew to 5 pages of 3 columns. It could no longer be used as a card, despite the 3-column appearance.

January 1990

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.8.1 for Perl version 3.0 pl 8.

I suspect this version to be the last RagTime produced version.

1990

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.8.1 for Perl version 3.0 pl 8.

I suspect this version to be the first Microsoft Word (Macintosh) produced version. 16 pages, including a title page with a table of contents.

I have two printouts: one indicating version 3.0.8.1A4 (for A4 paper), and one 3.0.8.1US (for US letter paper).

1990

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.18.1 for Perl version 3.0 pl 18.

1990

Raymond Chen produces a lookalike implementation of 3.0.18.1 in TeX.

Barry Friedman provides a perl program to translate the PostScript to Troff. I posted it to USENET on June 13th.

December 1990

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.41.0 for Perl version 3.0 pl 41. This version was distributed in PostScript, 16 pages of one column each. A special tool allowed the PostScript file to be re-formatted to produce one of the following print formats:
  • "card" format, 6 pages of 3 columns, US letter or A4 paper
  • "booklet", 8 pages of 2 columns, US letter or A4 paper

The section "Perl Debugger" was removed to provide space for new functions.

January 1991

"Perl Reference Guide" 3.0.44.0 for Perl version 3.0 pl 44.

This is the last version for Perl 3.0. The "card" format (3 columns per page) was dropped.

December 1991

PQRG Cover "Perl Reference Guide" 4.0.0.0 for Perl version 4.0 pl 0.

This is the first version for Perl 4.0.

A (slightly modified) version was included with the first printing of the Camel book (Programming Perl).

May 1991

"Perl Reference Guide" 4.003.4 for Perl version 4.0 pl 3.

This is the heavily reworked version using multiple fonts and typefaces. 20 pages. The size of the PostScript file almost tripled.

Re-appearance of the debugger chapter.

June 1991

"Perl Reference Guide" 4.010.0 for Perl version 4.0 pl 10.

This is the last version produced with Microsoft Word on Macintosh.

February 1992

"Perl Reference Guide" 4.019.1 for Perl version 4.0 pl 19.

This was the first version produced using LaTeX 2.09, almost completely rewritten from scratch. It was distributed in LaTeX and PostScript formats.

It was distributed through the newsgroup comp.sources.misc, just like Perl itself. It can still be found in the old USENET archives.

This version was included in the second reprint of the Camel book, although the cover reads "version 4.0.0".

September 1992

PRG Cover "Perl Reference Guide" 4.035.1 for Perl version 4.0 pl 35.

March 1993

QRG Japanese Cover Japanese edition of 4.035 by Yoshiyuki Kondo. He signed one for me.

May 1993

"Perl Reference Guide" 4.036.1 for Perl version 4.0 pl 36.

The last version for Perl 4.0.

January 1995

"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.000.0 for Perl version 5.000.

The first version for Perl 5.0.

November 1995

"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.0 for Perl version 5.001.

Upgraded to use LaTeX 2e instead of the 2.09 version.

December 1995

"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.1 for Perl version 5.001.

January 1996

"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.2 for Perl version 5.001.

February 1996

P5DR Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl5 Desktop Reference" for Perl version 5.001. The layout is according to O'Reilly specifications, 39 pages. The (magenta) cover shows both a Camel and a Llama.

1996

P5DR German Cover German edition (Schnellübersicht) of the "Perl5 Desktop Reference" for Perl version 5.001. Purple cover.
P5DR Japanese Cover Japanese edition of the "Perl5 Desktop Reference" for Perl version 5.001.

December 1996

P5DR Cover Alternative P5DR Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl5 Desktop Reference" for Perl version 5.003. 48 pages.
The cover color is now cyan, with Camel and Llama. Unfortunately, it was not registered as a reprint, and has the same ISBN number as the February edition. At the bottom of the copyright page, after the ISBN number, it reads "[12/96]".

August 1997

"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.004.0 for Perl version 5.004.

September 1997

P5DR Cover "Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.004.1 for Perl version 5.004.

The LaTeX format is no longer distributed by default, since very few users were actually able to reproduce the results.

This is the last version that has been released (so far) on the Internet.

August 1998

P5PR Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl5 Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition" for Perl version 5.005. 67 pages.
Same cyan cover with Camel and Llama, clearly marked "2nd Editition", and a distict ISBN number.

This booklet was also used as a present for all attendants of The Perl Conference 2.0.
Larry Wall signed one for me, as did Tom Christiansen.

Early 1999

P5PR German Cover German edition (kurz & gut) of the "Perl5 Pocket Reference" for Perl version 5.005. Translated by Peter Klickman. Blue cover.

August 1999

P5PR Stonehenge Cover O'Reilly publishes a bootleg version of the "Perl5 Pocket Reference" (2nd ed., red cover, no animals), requested by Stonehenge Consulting Services.

This booklet was also used as a present for all attendants of the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (which included The Perl Conference 3.0).
Randal L. Schwartz signed my copy.

December 1999

P6DR Fake Cover You know that you're famous when you're being imitated...

This one I got from a friend at RIPE NCC in Amsterdam.

March 2000

P5PR French Cover Édition française (précis & concis) of the "Perl5 Pocket Reference" for Perl version 5.005. Translated by James Guérin. Slightly purple-ish cover.

June 2000

P5PR 3rd ed. Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl5 Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition" for Perl version 5.6. Larry Wall wrote a foreword. 96 pages.
Familiar cyan cover with Camel and Llama, clearly marked "3rd Editition", and a distict ISBN number.

This edition was produced by me. It has been extensively reworked, and now has an index.

August 2000

P5PR 2nd German ed. Cover The German O'Reilly office is the first to publish a translation (kurz & gut) of the 3rd Edition. Translated by Peter Klickman. 110 pages.
Blue cover.

October 2000

P5PR 3rd Japanese ed. Cover Japanese translation. 90 pages.
This edition was produced out of the LaTeX files that I used for the original version. In fact, Kazumasa Utashiro did the great job of merging the Japanese version with the English one, so now I have a bi-lingual master source. Wow!

January 2001

P5PR Dutch Cover Nederlandstalige uitgave (Kort & Krachtig) of the "Perl5 Pocket Reference" for Perl version 5.6.
Published by Academic Service.
Despite the fact that I warned them several times during the preparation process, they managed to screw up the printing. See this example. 15 year old PostScript technology is still a mystery for some modern publishers.

April 2001

P5PR Polish Cover Polish translation.
Published by Wydanictwo Helion.

October 2001

P5PR Korean Cover Korean translation.
Published by Hanbit Media, Inc.

May 2002

P5PR 3ed French Cover Édition française (précis & concis) of the "Perl5 Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition". Translated by Kai Carver.

July 2002

PPR 4th ed. Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl Pocket Reference, 4th Edition" for Perl version 5.8.
Familiar cyan cover with Camel and Llama, clearly marked "4th Editition". 96 pages.
Errata.

This edition was produced by me.

December 2002

PPR 4th ed. Bulgarian Cover The Bulgarian Publishing House "ZeSt Press" publishes the a translation of the "Perl Pocket Reference, 4th Edition" for Perl version 5.8.

December 2010

PPR 4th ed. Cover

Without informing me, O'Reilly derived PDF and ebook versions from the 4th edition.

September 2011

PPR 5th ed. Cover O'Reilly publishes the "Perl Pocket Reference, 5th Edition" for Perl version 5.14.1.
Familiar cyan cover with (smaller) Camel and Llama, clearly marked "5th Editition". 94 pages.

The printed edition was produced by me.
O'Reilly derived PDF and ebook versions from this.



Powered by Template Toolkit

[Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional] [Valid CSS]

© Copyright 2003-2014 Johan Vromans. All Rights Reserved.
This site was created using the TT2Site Site Builder.
perlref-history.html last modified 20:52:05 18-Feb-2012