Perl Language. All you want to know about it.
Many programming languages are accommodated in the group of integrated, dynamic programming languages. Perl is one of the family members of that group. It includes perl 5 and perl 6. The best known full form of perl is Practical extraction and reporting language. It was developed to make the report processing easier. Perl 6 is the updated version of perl 5 which becomes the separate language now. Both the languages are developed by different teams and continue to be updated as separate languages.
Many other programming languages like C, shell script and sed shade some of their features on perl. Perl 5 is widely used programming language and used for system administration and network programming, finance and other applications. Perl was created by Larry Wall. Because of its flexibility, perl language is widely known as The Swiss Army Chainsaw of scripting language. Perl language is used in private as well as public sector for the development of critical projects.
Reasons to choose Perl.
- The best features from languages like c, sed, awk and Basic are taken in creating the perl.
- Perl language database interface supports third party databases like Postgres, MySQL, Oracle and others.
- Perl supports HTML, XML and other mark-up languages. It also supports object-oriented and functional programming.
- Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) offers more than 20,000 modules.
- Perl’s interpreter can be embedded into other system thus providing flexibility.
- External libraries of C/C++ can be accessed by Perl if need be.
The web and the Perl Language.
- Perl language is ideal for web based applications due to its rapid development skill and manipulation.
- Catalyst Web framework is written in perl.
- Web database integration is done easily through perl’s DBI.
- CPAN provides thousands of modules thus making it very easy for us to develop almost everything for web programmes.
- Perl language can control the encryption for the online business like e-commerce and finance.
- Perl’s flexibility allows us to embed it onto any faster web server to speed up the development of web applications.
- Many large web based applications are solely written in Perl.
Perl is used for what?
- There are many big players which web sites run on perl. Catalyst, Titanium and Mojo are some of them. Perl works without any advertisement that doesn’t mean it is not the popular one. Perl language is used for web application development.
- Perl is used to test any web application through Perl’s test framework. It does not matter in what language the web application is written.
- Perl is used for managing the configuration. Perl has an inbuilt ClearCase tool which is used to manage the customization level.
- Unix and Linux has perl and they depend widely upon perl for system administration.
- Perl is used in the field of bioinformatics.
- Perl is used in the development of the desktop application too. Perl/Tk, wxperl and Gtk2 Perl are the tool kits that are used to write cross platform desktop application.
- It is also used in the game development.
Is Perl still helpful or will be in future?
Each and every language has its own ups and downs and they all are worth trying at least once. Perl is an object oriented language that means of you are building something in a functional way then perl is your language. Perl is not the standard language these days that does not mean it has lost the charm. In perl there are many ways to do one thing and that will be very useful if you are coding by yourself. Of course it will require a lot of settings which might be difficult for the core team.
Even today many people are using sed and awk that means perl is not going anywhere. Some featured like processing and filtering are the strength of the language. On Linux platform using perl would be better choice than any other languages available because writing system tasks are fast and easy with perl.
But if you are new and just started your career in development then perl might not be the first language that you should learn.
Perl and Python
Features of Perl
- Dynamic and object oriented programming language.
- Perl is good at developing Graphical programming.
- Widely used at finance and bioinformatics based applications.
- Controlling system administration is easy with perl
- Lots of features are borrowed from other languages while developing the perl.
- Sometimes used as a path between two different interfaces.
Features of Python
- Python is an open source framework.
- It is an object oriented language.
- It is a procedural programming that means step by step programming.
- Sometimes uses as scripting language.
- It supports garbage collection.
- It supports memory management.
Which one is better python or perl. Which language to choose and go ahead totally depends on the programmer. He must be aware of what is going to be built by him and what will be the requirements in developing the applications and based on that he should select the language.
Pros and Cons of Perl
Pros of Perl
- One might get confused it with Shell language. It looks more or less similar to Shell.
- It follows the old way of using the braces to end the codes.
- Very powerful and versatile language among all available programming languages.
- It can be procedural, object oriented or functional language depending upon your needs.
Cons of Perl
- As said earlier it offers more than one way to achieve one goal that means unreadable code.
- Slower performance sometimes might give you headache.
- It is an object oriented language but not implemented good enough.
- Perl can create problems for you if the coding is more than 200 lines.
- Poor and less supportive libraries.
Perl Hosting Limitations
Perl Hosting providers will let you use bundles of modules of perl which will allow you to run CGI and perl scripts. These modules are pre installed and user can not add more once he starts running or using it. Hosts do not allow users to interfere in this matter. As a developer you must check the security provided by the hosts. You must be aware of how the hosts are handling the perl updates. Sometimes hosting providers do not allow you to update the latest version of perl modules.