Perl | What is Perl | Perl Script | Learn Perl | Perl Programming Example | Perl Programming Books | Perl Programming Tutorial | Perl Programming Programs
Perl is a family of high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. The languages in this family include Perl 5 and Perl 6.
Though Perl is not officially an acronym, there are various backronyms in use, including “Practical Extraction and Reporting Language”. Perl was originally developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. Perl 6, which began as a redesign of Perl 5 in 2000, eventually evolved into a separate language. Both languages continue to be developed independently by different development teams and liberally borrow ideas from one another.
The Perl languages borrow features from other programming languages including C, shell script (sh), AWK, and sed. They provide powerful text processing facilities without the arbitrary data-length limits of many contemporary Unix command-line tools, facilitating easy manipulation of text files. Perl 5 gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s as a CGI scripting language, in part due to its then unsurpassed regular expression and string parsing abilities.
According to Wall, Perl has two slogans. The first is “There’s more than one way to do it”, commonly known as TMTOWTDI. The second slogan is “Easy things should be easy and hard things should be possible”.
Features of Perl
The overall structure of Perl derives broadly from C. Perl is procedural in nature, with variables, expressions, assignment statements, brace-delimited blocks, control structures, and subroutines.
Perl also takes features from shell programming. All variables are marked with leading sigils, which allow variables to be interpolated directly into strings. However, unlike the shell, Perl uses sigils on all accesses to variables, and unlike most other programming languages that use sigils, the sigil doesn’t denote the type of the variable but the type of the expression. So for example, to access a list of values in a hash, the sigil for an array (“@”) is used, not the sigil for a hash (“%”). Perl also has many built-in functions that provide tools often used in shell programming (although many of these tools are implemented by programs external to the shell) such as sorting and calling operating system facilities.
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