History of the Perl Reference Guide
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) know!
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".
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" 220.127.116.11 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.
I suspect this version to be the last RagTime produced version.
1990"Perl Reference Guide" 18.104.22.168 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 22.214.171.124A4 (for A4 paper), and one 126.96.36.199US (for US letter paper).
"Perl Reference Guide" 188.8.131.52 for Perl version 3.0 pl 18.
1990Raymond Chen produces a lookalike implementation of 184.108.40.206 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" 220.127.116.11 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:
This is the last version for Perl 3.0. The "card" format (3 columns per page) was dropped.
"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.
"Perl Reference Guide" 4.010.0 for Perl version 4.0 pl 10.
This is the last version produced with Microsoft Word on Macintosh.
"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".
"Perl Reference Guide" 4.036.1 for Perl version 4.0 pl 36.
The last version for Perl 4.0.
"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.000.0 for Perl version 5.000.
The first version for Perl 5.0.
"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.0 for Perl version 5.001.
Upgraded to use LaTeX 2e instead of the 2.09 version.
"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.1 for Perl version 5.001.
"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.001.2 for Perl version 5.001.
"Perl 5 Reference Guide" 5.004.0 for Perl version 5.004.
© Copyright 2003-2018 Johan Vromans. All Rights Reserved.