Perl: An Introductory Guide 

Perl, founded by Larry Page in 1987 is a high-level interpreted programming language that is used for developing websites and other software. Perl is an older, open-source, general-purpose, interpreted language that is very close to C in terms of syntax.

What is Perl?

At the beginning of the advent of technology, there were only a handful of programming languages that were too hard to grasp and program. But since then, a plethora of programming languages have been created. We have Python, PHP, and many more, with specific applications. Perl is one such programming language that has been lying low for quite a time until recently.

According to the Web Tech Survey, more than 101,449 websites use PERL, and this programming language holds the 10th position in the popular programming languages list.

Perl is easier to pick up and use than more structured languages like C and C++. Nonetheless, advanced programmes are written in the language. Because of its text manipulation skills and capacity to deal with binary files, the language is frequently used to create familiar gateway interface (CGI) programmes.

Features of Perl

Perl was formerly a primary programming language, but it is no longer widely used. However, the programming language is regaining its well-deserved prominence.

There are some specific reasons why this language is still preferred by some, as outlined below. These reasons are:

  1. Features from Unix & other languages
  2. Glu language
  3. Embedding
  4. Text processing
  5. Works with other languages

Perl Contains Features From Unix and Other Programming Languages

Perl borrows elements from various languages, including C, awk, sed, sh, and BASIC. Code can run as-is in an interpreted language, and it can execute instructions without having to compile the complete programme into machine language instructions first.

Glue Language

The Glue language is a programming language created specifically for writing and managing programmes and code that joins various software components.

Perl makes it easy for programmers to integrate otherwise incompatible interfaces and components as a glue coding language. It has a database integration interface that supports MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, Sybase, and other third-party databases.

Embedding 

Other systems can make use of the Perl interpreter. Perl is a programming language that may be integrated into databases and web servers.

Text Processing

Perl includes text processing facilities that allow it to operate with markup languages such as Hypertext Markup Language and Extensible Markup Language.

Works With Other Languages

Perl works with HTML, XML, and other mark-up languages. 

It also allows you to programme in both procedural and object-oriented ways. Perl is also noted for supporting all types of inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulation and implementing OOP concepts. Perl is versatile enough to enable both procedural and object-oriented programming approaches simultaneously.

Other features of PERL are:

  • Unicode is supported.
  • It complies with the Y2K standard.
  • It uses XS or SWIG to communicate with external C/C++ libraries.
  • Perl is a scripting language that can be extended. 

Uses of Perl 

The benefits described above should be enough to persuade you why many businesses still use it. Let’s look at some of Perl’s practical applications now that the features have been listed:

Perl’s popularity and demand stem from a variety of factors. A few of the applications are listed below:

  1. Text Processing
  2. System administration
  3. Enhancing Security
  4. Web Development

In Text-Processing 

Perl has strong text manipulation capabilities, allowing it to generate reports from a variety of text files readily. It can also convert files into different formats.

In System Administration

It makes system administration a breeze thanks to its support of multiple scripting languages. Instead of becoming reliant on a variety of languages, it can handle all aspects of system administration. Perl is used in web development, web automation, GUI programming, and other applications.

In Enhancing Security

Perl can be used to find security flaws in software and networks. Because of this, it’s also used in web development, networking, and bioinformatics.

In Web Development

Perl is also used in web development to automate numerous processes on Web servers and other administration chores, such as email generation and system cleanup.

Advantages of Perl  

  • It has cross-platform compatibility and works well with markup languages such as HTML and XML.
  • Perl is used in text manipulation. 
  • It is free and open-source software.
  • It is used in web and database servers.

Disadvantages of Perl

  • Because of CPAN modules, it does not support portability.
  • Programs run slowly, and any modifications to the program need to undergo interpretation every single time.
  • Its code is unorderly and challenging to read.
  • When compared to other languages, it is not easy to use.

Perl vs Python

Perl and Python are comparable programming languages. Both languages were established to make scripting easier. The distinction is that Perl was created to provide Unix scripts with a C-like structure. Python was created to make C easier to use and script with.

Syntactically, Perl and Python are very similar, and translating from it to Python is relatively simple, with only a few essential syntax differences.

With some explicit similarities, the following are some distinct differences between Perl and Python, 

  • Perl lines finish in a semicolon.
  • Perl and Python have some apparent similarities, but there are several significant differences. Perl lines finish in a semicolon.
  • Curly brackets and indentation are present in Perl but not in Python.
  • In Perl, variable names are stylised with a variable indicator, such as $x, per cent x, and x. In Python, variable names are stylised without a variable indicator, such as x.
  • In Python, the print statement adds a new line to the end of the output.

Conclusion

Perl is a simple programming language that many people still use to create websites and other features. Were you able to grasp Perl’s most important part? We sincerely hope you did.

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