Introduction to Basic Perl Programming
This course is for anyone who needs a results-oriented introduction to Perl 5.
It is designed to give you a solid background in the Perl language, covering all of its major features and functions.
Perl Course goals
By working through the course lessons and exercises, you will gain the skills you need to:
- Write effective Perl programs for common system-administration tasks
- Take advantage of regular expressions--even in other languages
- Understand, use, and modify Perl programs written by other people
- Create quick, one-liner programs for simple everyday tasks
- Move on to the next course in the Programming in Perl Series,
Perl for the Web.
Before we begin
From its introduction to the programming community in 1987, Perl has become today one of the most widely
known and used programming languages. Designed by LarryWall, and originally thought of as a natural enhancement
for the popular csh shell script notation of Unix, Perl was at first primarily used for text manipulation. Its maturity
in the early 1990s coincided with the rise of the Web, and it rapidly became the most popular programming
language for HTML form processing and otherWeb development as well.
Perl has been called a "Swiss Army chainsaw" for its features coupled with its considerable programming power and flexibility. The common phrase
among hardened Perl programmers is: "There is more than one way to do it.""
Most programming goals can be achieved in Perl in at least three ways, depending on
which language features and techniques the programmer prefers to use.
It is not uncommon for an experienced Perl programmer to reach for the manual when reading code written by another programmer.
Perl has also been called "duct tape for the Web", emphasizing its utility for producing applications,Web sites, and general program fixes
for a wide variety of problems and domains.
In this chapter we give a brief history of Perl, including major events preceding Perl that set the historical stage for
it. We provide an overview of the language, including example code to show how its features are used in practice.
We discuss Web site programming in Perl using the CGI (Common Gateway Interface) standard and show several
database interface methods in Perl. We discuss the community of programmers that has grown up around Perl
and conclude with a presentation of several technologies that are logical follow-ons to Perl.
In the next lesson, some of the features of the Perl Programming Language will be covered.
Then, the following two lessons will walk you through the steps of downloading
perl and installing it on your machine.