chromatic's books

I've been fortunate to write, co-write, or otherwise contribute to several books. These are the most recent.

Modern Perl

Modern Perl, fourth edition, is a short explanation of how to use Perl 5 effectively in 2015 and beyond. This book features yearly updates to track the most recent stable version of Perl 5, as well as the best wisdom the wider Perl community has to offer.

I began this book in 2009 and have been humbled by the reception it's received. If you've heard of "Modern Perl" and wondered what that means, my book is part of that Perl renaissance.

You can read Modern Perl free online or download free electronic versions of Modern Perl.


When Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies approached Onyx Neon about publishing Liftoff, I voted for it so strongly that the only question was "When can we start?"

Any software development project faces the problems of deciding who's in charge, what success means, and how to handle the inevitable questions of organization and decision making during the process. Few software projects ever acknowledge these problems, and fewer still handle them in a disciplined way.

Diana and Ainsley have distilled their practical experience helping teams solve these problems before they occur. The practice of "agile chartering" brings together everyone interested in the project to agree on how they'll run things.

Successful projects don't happen by accident. I'm pleased to have had a part in bringing this wisdom to projects that want to improve their chances of success.

Beginning Perl

If I were to hire a dream team of programmers, I'd work with Ovid in a heartbeat. I can think of no higher compliment than saying "He gets things done, and he has never stopped learning."

When he approached me about editing this update to the venerable Beginning Perl I agreed. His pragmatic approach to explaining how Perl 5 works in the real world (while sneakily introducing the effective concepts from modern Perl) will bring new users to this wonderful language and help them solve their problems now.


My work at Onyx Neon started with a question. "What's the most lightweight, most automated process to publish a book?" Our inspiration came partly from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, and partly from the realization that we already had almost all of the tools to produce beautiful printed books.

Gigapolis is the second novel we published, by our friend and frequent collaborator S. Christopher, saw a refinement of our publishing process. While it represents his growth as an author, it also demonstrates our commitment to reinventing ourselves.

I appreciate this book because it kept surprising me.

You can download free electronic versions of Gigapolis.


Gravitas is the first book we published at Onyx Neon. I worked late hours getting our publishing toolkit in place and refining our formatting system. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for my friend's coming of age story, a modern tale of love and life and loss in this strange world of the early 21st century.

Then again, sometimes the author grumbles that he hewed far too close to Pynchon and Stephenson to get his point across in a gentle manner. No matter. The ending still sometimes breaks my heart.

You can download free electronic versions of Gravitas.

The Art of Agile Development

I wrote a book in the distant past called Extreme Programming Pocket Guide. James Shore suggested that I write a second edition, and then the project grew too large for me, so he found some co-authors and they ended up producing this book instead of a revised little pocket guide.

I am an uncredited contributor to this book. (You'll probably note that not even the publisher can get the author names right; it's missing Elisabeth Hendrickson, for example. I suspect that part of the problem is that Shane and I contracted our work to the publisher on a single invoice through Onyx Neon, so their data is all conflated. That'll teach us to try to make billing easy for ourselves.)

I reviewed the book before it went to press. It's a good book. I wish I'd published it through Onyx Neon, but it is what it is.