CS 105 Computer Programming: Perl
Fall 2013 (unique # 53605)

When Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:00pm-2:00pm from August 28 through October 21
Where GDC 1.406
Web http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~cdunham/cs105/
Instructor Curtis Dunham
Office hours TBA, or by appointment
E-mail cdunham at cs.utexas.edu (Please include cs105 in the subject)
Prerequisites CS 307, 313E, or EE 422C (or 322C) with a grade of at least C-

Course Objectives

Perl is a programming language that combines the modern robustness of Java with the expedient pragmatism of scripting languages. It offers both the low-level system access of C and the high-level elegance of Lisp. One of its mottoes is, “There’s More Than One Way To Do It.” Its flexibility makes Perl a powerful tool, but its permissiveness can lead to incomprehensible code or mysterious bugs.

This course provides a brief introduction to the language for students who want to add Perl to their toolbox. It assumes familiarity with the fundamental elements of computer programming, but no prior experience with Perl or any other particular language is necessary. Brief weekly assignments will give students hands-on experience writing, debugging, and revising Perl programs. A final project will exercise students' ability to develop a slightly more involved program, integrating concepts familiar from the weekly assignments.


No textbook is required. All assignments should be possible to complete using only the lecture notes and the Perl documentation that it specifically mentions. The perl man page is a great place to start.

However, to get the most out of this course and Perl itself, a book is a great investment. A very good (and free on the web in PDF) resource is chromatic's Modern Perl. After this course is over and you still like and/or want to use Perl, I highly recommend Effective Perl Programming by Joseph N. Hall, et al. as well as books by Damian Conway and Mark Jason Dominus.

If you find yourself wanting more examples or explanations, I highly recommend purchasing a book!


CS 105 Perl uses a “flipped classroom” model. Lectures are provided via videos posted to Blackboard and the class meeting functions similarly to a discussion section. Further explanations and clarifications are given in class in addition to quizzes. Students are encouraged to attend every class meeting; poor performance and poor attendance are highly correlated. The lecture slides used in the videos are also posted to Blackboard. Assignments will be announced in class but not through Blackboard, unless you configure Blackboard to send notifications about new assignments.

Office Hours

Office hours will be held as listed above, at GDC 5.434 (north wing aka Dell Hall, east end), unless otherwise announced in class. If you are unable to attend the usual office hours, email me to set up a meeting. I am also happy to thwart a meeting by answering your question via email.


Seven weekly homeworks will be assigned, typically in Wednesday classes and due the following Wednesday. All homeworks are due at 12:00 noon (one hour before classtime) on the due date. Homework will be submitted using the turnin program from a CS account (run man turnin on a CS machine for more details). Do not use the Microlab Turnin web page. You need to get a CS account if you don't yet have one. The instructor will run your programs on a CS machine with Perl 5.14.2. I recommend SSH for remote login since your Perl experience will be text-centric.


The grading distribution is roughly 50% homeworks, 30% final project, and 20% quizzes. The quizzes will be unannounced but unsurprising if you pay attention. The final project serves as a final exam. Note that it will be due after the class stops meeting on October 21, but you can still make an appointment for office hours until that date. Grades will be posted on Blackboard. The instructor reserves the right to use attendance and class participation to improve your final letter grade if you are “on the fence.” Any questions about grades must be submitted in writing (including via e-mail).

Class Announcements and Discussion

The instructor will send class announcements through Blackboard.

Blackboard also has a Discussion Board so students can help each other. Appropriate discussion topics include questions about Perl itself, requests for clarification about anything said in class, requests for help with the computing environment, etc. In general, the discussion board is for sharing information that may be of interest to classmates, but obviously homework solutions are off-limits!

Code of Conduct

See the Computer Science Department's Code of Conduct. Students are encouraged to work together to improve their understanding of the course material, but for all homework assignments, only their own work may be submitted. University policies on academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.


1 Wed August 28 Course overview; Survey; Perl introduction; First program
Mon September 2 Labor Day holiday - no class
2 Wed September 4 Perl basics: Data types; Variables; Sigils; Defined-ness; Truth; Control flow
3 Mon September 9 Perl basics: I/O; Context; String literals and quoting; Lists; Intermediate iteration
4 Wed September 11 Intermediate file I/O, array and hash manipulation; Special variables
5 Mon September 16 Advanced iteration; other print functions; Variable scoping; Functions
6 Wed September 18 Perl warning modes; Introduction to Regular Expressions; Basis in Automata
7 Mon September 23 Regular expressions: Operators, Metacharacters, Character classes, basic assertions
8 Wed September 25 Practical regular expressions; Advanced regular expressions
9 Mon September 30 References; Data structures
10 Wed October 2 Using modules and objects; Packages; Object-Oriented theory
11 Mon October 7 Tied variables; some real-world examples
12 Wed October 9 Miscellaneous helpful things
13 Mon October 14 More helpful things
14 Wed October 16 discussion of final; catch-up and/or discussion/demonstration of practical issues
15 Mon October 21 Looking ahead: Perl 6
  Fri November 8 final project due at 12:00 noon, no late turn-in

The instructor reserves the right to adjust this schedule if necessary.