Sam Moffatt

Written by pasamio   
Wednesday, 19 January 2005

What is Perl?
Perl is much like PHP, its an intepretted language. Perl was designed for excessive text manipulation, and its regular expressions are its most powerful feature. Perl is itself used primarily on Unix/Linux systems where it is installed automatically, or in web servers. An example of Perl used for web pages is LiveJournal.

Why use Perl?
Perl has some of the best string manipulation features which makes it good for parsing textual information, like reports and databases that are in a textual format. Perl is also very good at outputting web pages, but is slowly losing ground to PHP. Perl has a very mature library set, is stable and has bindings for a large amount of external programs. On Windows, ActiveState maintains a version of Perl that supports 'PerlScript', similar to VBScript (see Visual Basic) or JavaScript concepts, but written in Perl

Perl Resources
For most Linux distributions, Perl should either be installed already or on your installation media (either CD, DVD or Internet). For Windows things are a bit different, and there are a few options. The first is ActiveState ActivePerl. The second is Perl from the Cygwin package. My suggestion for new Perl developers for Windows is ActivePerl, as Cygwin requires other support packages. The other options are listed on CPAN @

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