HWG Resources FAQs Perl

Perl

Table of Contents

  1. What is Perl?
  2. Where do I get Perl?
  3. What do I do on Windows?
  4. Where do I get Perl code?
  5. For More Information

  1. What is Perl?

    Perl, the Practical Extraction and Report Language, is the greatest thing since the invention of the computer.

    Perl is a programming language, which was initially optimized for text manipulation, but which has since evolved into the most popular language for CGI programming. It is also a great "glue" language for tying together a variety of applications and services.

    Perl has been around for awhile, and is the brain child of Larry Wall, who now works for O'Reilly. Perl is free ("Open Source") sortware, released under the GNU Public License, and the Artistic License, which permit for Perl to be redistributed at will, as long as the source code is included.

    Perl has an enormous user community which provides support through several usenet groups. The non-profit Perl Institute provides a source of information and advocacy for Perl. And Tom Christiansen's Perl.com web site provides a huge amount of documentation and software for Perl.

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  2. Where do I get Perl?

    Perl is free software and is available from a number of sites on the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN). CPAN is a network of mirrors of a central repository of Perl software.

    Perl is distributed as source code, which you need to compile for your particular operating system. Perl is also availiable as compiled binaries for a variety of operating systems.

    You can find more information about where to get Perl on the Perl.com web site.

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  3. What do I do on Windows?

    Perl has traditionally been a Unix tool, but has been becoming more popular on the Windows platforms. And, while Unix folks are quite used to compiling code from scratch, Windows folks expect to get a nicely packaged install file. So, Dick Hardt and his buddies at ActiveState (formerly Activeware, formerly Hip Communications), have provided us with a great package, containing Perl, a variety of modules, and some nice utilities. You can get ActivePerl at the ActiveState web site, and it will work on any Win32 platform. You should be able to just run the install, reboot, and have all the power of Perl on your Windows machine.

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  4. Where do I get Perl code?

    The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network is a huge repository of Perl code to do everything from making socket connections to figuring out whether a name is masculine or feminine. And all of that code is free. So, before you go reinvent the wheel, you might want to check out some of the stuff there. CPAN is located at http://www.perl.com/CPAN, and a variety of other places. Pick the one nearest you and conserve bandwidth. If you are specifically interested in CGI code, you might want to check out "Where can I find a CGI program that does xyz" in the HWG-servers mailing list FAQ.

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  5. For More Information

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