Perl’s Value Among Programming Languages

Practical Extraction and Report Language (PERL) is a general purpose programming language developed for text manipulation and a wide range of tasks including system administration, web development and network programming. It was created by Larry Wall, who received an Excellence in Programming Award in March of 1996 for the development of this product. “PC Magazine” named Perl a finalist for its 1998 Technical Excellence Award in the Development Tool category.

Larry Wall was trained as a linguist, and the design of Perl is very much formed by linguistic principles. Perl favors language constructs that are natural for humans to read and write. Its syntax reflects the idea that “things that are different should look different”. Procedural, functional and object-oriented programming paradigms are supported by Perl programming. A programmer is not forced to choose a particular program to use Perl. The fact that it is listed in the “Oxford English Dictionary” is a testament to the universal appeal and usage of this language.

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The Supported Operating systems for Perl are Unix, Macintosh, Windows, VMS and many more. Perl takes the best features from other languages, such as C and BASIC. It supports third-party databases, including Oracle, Sybase, MySOL and others. It works with HTML, XML and other languages.

Perl is the most popular web programming language due to its text manipulation capabilities and rapid development cycle. It is widely known as “the duct-tape of the Internet”. When it is embedded into web servers it speeds up processing by as much as 2000%, and it can handle encrypted Web data, including e-commerce transactions.

It is also used as a “glue language” tying together systems and interfaces that were not specifically designed to interoperate. It is widely used in finance and bioinformatics, where it can handle large data sets and third party modules.

It is distributed with some 90,000 functional tests. These run as part of the normal build process to ensure that bugs are not introduced.

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Hands On IT Training Nationwide has a five-day course in Perl programming offered in several cities around the country. It is a hands on course providing a thorough introduction, teaching course attendees how to develop and maintain portable scripts useful for system management, data manipulation and Web programming. There is extensive practice in report creation, pattern matching, string manipulation and debugging operations.

“The Perl Journal” estimates that there are over 1,000,000 Perl users and more than 200 Perl user groups existing on six continents. That demonstrates the practical, easy to use nature of the language. It supports both procedural and object-oriented programming and has powerful built-in support for text processing. All of these features make it a true “pearl” among the programming languages.

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