What is Perl?
Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming 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 and become widely popular amongst programmers. Larry Wall continues to oversee development of the core language, and its upcoming version, Perl 6. Perl borrows features from other programming languages including C, shell scripting (sh), AWK, and sed. The language provides powerful text processing facilities without the arbitrary data length limits of many contemporary Unix tools, facilitating easy manipulation of text files. Perl gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s as a CGI scripting language, in part due to its parsing abilities.
History of Perl?
Larry Wall began work on Perl in 1987, while working as a programmer at Unisys, and released version 1.0 to the comp.sources.misc newsgroup on December 18, 1987. The language expanded rapidly over the next few years.
Why was it named Perl?
Perl was originally named "Pearl", after the Parable of the Pearl from the Gospel of Matthew. Larry Wall wanted to give the language a short name with positive connotations; he claims that he considered (and rejected) every three- and four-letter word in the dictionary. He also considered naming it after his wife Gloria. Wall discovered the existing PEARL programming language before Perl's official release and changed the spelling of the name.
Major features of Perl
All versions of Perl do automatic data-typing and automatic memory-management. The interpreter knows the type and storage requirements of every data object in the program; it allocates and frees storage for them as necessary using reference counting (so it cannot deallocate circular data structures without manual intervention). Legal type-conversions â€” for example, conversions from number to string â€” are done automatically at run time; illegal type conversions are fatal errors.
The design of Perl
The design of Perl can be understood as a response to three broad trends in the computer industry: falling hardware costs, rising labor costs, and improvements in compiler technology. Many earlier computer languages, such as Fortran and C, aimed to make efficient use of expensive computer hardware. In contrast, Perl is designed to make efficient use of expensive computer-programmers.
Ever since the early days of the Web, programmers have used Perl to write CGI scripts. Perl is known as one of "the three Ps" (along with Python and PHP), the most popular dynamic languages for writing Web applications. It is also an integral component of the popular LAMP solution stack for web development. Large projects written in Perl include cPanel, Slash, Bugzilla, RT, TWiki, and Movable Type. Many high-traffic websites use Perl extensively. Examples include Amazon.com, bbc.co.uk, Priceline.com, Craigslist, IMDb, LiveJournal, Slashdot and Ticketmaster.
Implementation of Perl
Perl is implemented as a core interpreter, written in C, together with a large collection of modules, written in Perl and C. as of 2010, the stable version (5.12.3) is 14.2 MB when packaged in a tar file and gzip compressed. The interpreter is 150,000 lines of C code and compiles to a 1 MB executable on typical machine architectures. Alternatively, the interpreter can be compiled to a link library and embedded in other programs. There are nearly 500 modules in the distribution, comprising 200,000 lines of Perl and an additional 350,000 lines of C code. (Much of the C code in the modules consists of character-encoding tables.)
Perl for Windows
Users of Microsoft Windows typically install one of the native binary distributions of Perl for Win32, most commonly Strawberry Perl or ActivePerl. Compiling Perl from source code under Windows is possible, but most installations lack the requisite C compiler and build tools. This also makes it difficult to install modules from the CPAN, particularly those that are partially written in C.
Perl6 - The future of Perl
At the 2000 Perl Conference, Jon Orwant made a case for a major new language initiative. This led to a decision to begin work on a redesign of the language, to be called Perl 6. Proposals for new language features were solicited from the Perl community at large, and more than 300 RFCs were submitted.
POST to URL from Perl Script
- Emiley J
This sample code in perl shows how to connect and POST data to any URL from a perl script.
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3. Thank you so much Eric Giguere.
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