Perl Programming

Written by Shirley Parker
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According to the Perl website, Perl is the name of the language and only the "P" is capitalized. The program that actually runs the Perl script is "perl" without the uppercase letter. However, most references require the use of Perl, so that's what we'll stick with here.

Perl was originally created by Larry Wall in 1987, or at least, 1987 is when he felt it was ready to be shown to the world. Its name is an acronym for Practical Extraction and Reporting Language and it was intended for use in system administration and data reduction. Perl is a cross platform programming language that is stable and high performance. There is no charge for Perl, since it is Open Source and licensed under the GNU General Public License. (It's also said to be licensed under its Artistic License).

Perl is only written in C, which makes it very portable; it runs on UNIX platforms, 32-bit Windows, and multiple other systems. Perl is eclectic, using the best features from other languages, and supportive. It has a host of good traits, such as working with databases like Oracle, Sybase, MySQL and others, as well as integrating with HTML and XML, and on and on.

Perl Gets the Job Done

There are many who call Perl the "duct tape of the Internet." An informal symbol exists for Perl--the camel. It isn't always pretty, but you can rely on it to get you there and get the job done. Perl is considered the easiest language in which to write CGI scripts for web pages, so it's now become very popular for that. Online resources, add-on modules and pre-built scripts for Perl are readily available. The same is true of books written about it. There is also a Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) that stores replicas of the add-ons.

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