PERL Introduction

Perl is the Swiss Army chainsaw of programming languages: powerful and adaptable. It was first developed by Larry Wall, a linguist working as a systems administrator for NASA in the late 1980s, as a way to make report processing easier. Since then, it has moved into a several other areas: automating system administration, acting as glue between different computer systems, web programming, bioinformatics, data munging, and even application development. Why did Perl become so popular when the Web came along? Two reasons: First, most of what is being done on the Web happens with text, and is best done with a language that's designed for text processing. More importantly, Perl was appreciably better than the alternatives at the time when people needed something to use. C is complex and can produce security problems (especially with untrusted data), Tcl can be awkward, and Python didn't really have a foothold. It also didn't hurt that Perl is a friendly language. It plays well with your personal programming style. The Perl slogan is "There's more than one way to do it," and that lends itself well to large and small problems alike. Even more so, Perl is very portable and widespread -- it's available pre-installed almost everywhere -- and of course there are thousands of freely-distributable libraries available from the CPAN.