Depending on whom you ask, Perl stands for “Practical Extraction and Report Language” or “Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister.” It is a powerful glue language useful for tying together the loose ends of computing life.
Perl is the natural outgrowth of a project started by Larry Wall in 1986. Originally intended as a configuration and control system for six VAXes and six SUNs located on opposite ends of the country, it grew into a more general tool for system administration
on many platforms. Since its unveiling to programmers at large, it has become the work of a large body of developers. Larry Wall, however, remains its principle architect.
Although the first platform Perl inhabited was UNIX, it has since been ported to over 70 different operating systems including, but not limited to, Windows 9x/NT/2000, MacOS, VMS, Linux, UNIX (many variants), BeOS, LynxOS, and QNX.
Uses of Perl
1. Tool for general system administration
2. Processing textual or numerical data
3. Database interconnectivity
4. Common Gateway Interface (CGI/Web) programming
5. Driving other programs! (FTP, Mail, WWW, OLE)
The Virtues of a Programmer
Perl is a language designed to cater to the three chief virtues of a programmer.
· Laziness - develop reusable and general solutions to problems
· Impatience - develop programs that anticipate your needs and solve problems
· Hubris - write programs that you want other people to see (and be able to
There are many means to the same end
Perl provides you with more than enough rope to hang yourself. Depending on the problem, there may be several “official”
solutions. Generally those that are approached using “Perl idioms” will be more efficient.