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Perl is a platform-independent scripting language. Its special feature is that it is free and interpretable. Perl was developed in 1987 by a language developer with the objective to provide a simple and easy to learn programming language that allows programmers a lot of freedom. Like PHP, today, Perl is mostly used for web applications and bioinformatics. The advantage of Perl is that it is perfectly suitable for problem solving because it can process large data streams securely.
The inventor of Perl is American linguist Larry Wall, who worked as a programmer and system administrator. At the end of the 1980s, he was involved in building a secure network for the NSA. Since the programming languages available to him were insufficient for his purposes, he started developing his own language with his brother-in-law and a colleague. They oriented themselves on human language and Unix elements in order to facilitate beginners in the programming of computer applications.
The result of the three inventors was the Perl programming language, which was originally supposed to be called “Pearl.” However, this name was already taken. According to the legend, the name “Pearl” is based on a passage in the Gospel of Matthew, where a trader wants to trade his possessions against a single pearl of great value. The name origin could also be an acronym from the phrase “Practical Extraction Report Language.”
Perl is characterized by its own characteristics, which are briefly presented here. Some of the inventor’s solutions for Perl have become famous, such as TIMTOWTDI, which stands for “There is more than one way to do it.” Programmers often call it “Tim Tody.”
- Quick and easy programmability: scripts written with Perl, can be very quickly and easily created
- Completeness and adaptability: there is not only just one way to program an application in Perl; the language was designed so that several formulations and solutions are possible
- Context-dependent: there are commands in Perl whose interpretation depends on the context
- Free language: in practice this means that Perl programmers can combine speech features based on their structure, object orientation, function or commands
- CPAN: The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network has been maintained since 1995. Programmers can find a rich database of installable Perl modules there.
- Prepared programming solutions for common tasks
Perl in practice
Nowadays, Perl is used in many ways for web applications. Some large websites such as Amazon or Xing use Perl. Moreover, many spam filters are based on Perl. As a general rule, this script language can always be used when databases and web servers work together to output sites in HTML.
Perl and SEO
SEOs value Perl especially for its versatility and ease of learning. Many different SEO modules can be integrated into a Perl installation through CPAN.