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Using Perl to Create and Manipulate Graphics for the Web: O'Reilly Releases "Perl Graphics Programming"

January 15, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--Graphics programmers aren't the only ones who need to be proficient with graphics. Web and applications programmers know that with the use of well-planned graphic elements, a dull web page can be transformed into one that's interesting and lively. Fortunately, the skills of a fulltime graphics programmer aren't required to use graphics effectively. From access counters and log report graphs to scientific plots and on-the-fly animated GIFs, graphics scripting is within the grasp of most web programmers. Using open source software, like Perl, they have the power to dynamically generate graphics based on user input and activity, easily manipulate graphics content, and optimize graphics for compression and quality. O'Reilly's new book, Perl Graphics Programming by Shawn Wallace (US $39.95), is a comprehensive guide to creating and manipulating the graphics that bring web pages to life.

Geared toward Perl users and webmasters, "Perl Graphics Programming" focuses on open-source scripting programs that can be used with graphics files on the Web. The book demystifies the manipulation of graphics formats for newcomers with a practical, resource-like approach. "This book is not really geared at graphics programmers," Wallace explains. "A typical user could be someone who already knows Perl and is handed a job that requires thousands of pieces of text from a database to be pieced together into a collection of PDF files. Or, it could be a webmaster who wants to dynamically generate SVG/PNG/JPEG/GIF/etc. files from CGI scripts."

"Perl Graphics Programming" begins with a tour of the most common web graphic file formats--PNG, JPEG, GIF, SWF, SVG, Postscript, and PDF. Readers will then explore the most powerful tools and Perl modules available for manipulating these graphics, such as GD, PerlMagick, and GIMP. Included in this part of the book is a thorough description of the Ming module for creating on-the-fly Flash files. Next, a "cookbook" section includes practical, all purpose recipes: GIF animation, generating images within a dynamic application, communicating between SWF front-end and Perl back-end, XSLT transformations, compression, and much more. Readers will learn how to:

  • Generate dynamic web graphics with charts, tables, and buttons
  • Automate graphics tasks (thumbnails and borders)
  • Create dynamics web documents (PDF, Postscript)
  • Produce rich internet experiences with Flash and SVG

Perl programmers naturally turn to Perl to tackle whatever challenge they have at hand, and graphics programming is no exception. "Perl Graphics Programming" provides all the tools they'll need to begin programming and designing graphics for the Web immediately.

Additional Resources:

Perl Graphics Programming
Shawn Wallace
ISBN 0-596-00219-x, 462 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN), 28.50 (UK)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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