What is Perl?
Perl stands in for “Practical Extraction and Reporting Language” even though there is no authorized acronym for Perl. You may create your own acronym, and no one will mind. Perl was created by Larry Wall in 1987 when he was employed on a bug reporting system and “AWK”- a programming language he was using for the purpose was not helping him much. He is still the chief architect and developer of Perl. If we want to define Perl in one sentence: Perl is a high-level, interpreted, dynamic programming language. Did it all sound Greek to you? (Unless you actually know Greek).
Let’s put it in a simple manner. While computers understand just 0’s and 1’s (binary language/machine language/ [low-level language]), it is very difficult to program in a binary language for us human. Perl is a programming language which uses natural language elements, words that are used in common English language and is, therefore, easier to understand by humans [high-level language]. Now there’s a problem; computers cannot understand high-level languages, which we humans can easily understand. For that, we need something which can translate the high-level language to low-level language. Here interpreter comes to our help. The interpreter is a piece of software which converts the program written in the high-level language to low-level language for the computer to understand and execute the instructions written in the program.
Where is Perl used?
The power of Perl can be implemented in many fields. The most popular use of Perl is in Web development., Perl is also used to automate many tasks in the Web servers, and other administration jobs, it can automatically generate emails and clean up systems. Perl is still used for its original purpose i.e. extracting data and generating reports. It can produce reports on resource use and check for security issues in a network. Due to this reason, Perl has become a popular language used in web development, networking and bioinformatics too. Apart from all this perl can also be used for CGI programming.
Perl can also be utilized for image creation & manipulation. Apart from that networking via telnet, FTP, etc., Graphical User Interface creation, VLSI electronics & to create mail filters to reduce spamming practices are some use cases of Perl.
Why use Perl?
It is true that there are other programming languages that can be used to do all the stuff that has been stated above, then why should you specifically use Perl? Perl is very easy to learn, especially if you have a background in computer programming. Perl was designed to be easy for humans to write and understand rather than making it easy for processing by computers. It uses regular expressions. It’s natural style of language is different from other programming languages that use specific grammar and syntaxes; therefore, Perl is very flexible and doesn’t impose on you any particular way of thinking out a solution or a problem. Perl is extremely portable. It can run on any operating system that has Perl interpreter installed, so it is platform independent. All Linux Operating Systems come installed with Perl, so you can start Perl coding in Linux out of the box. This is unlike Shell scripts, where the code changes with the flavor of Linux distribution being used, making it less and less portable Small specific tasks in Perl become very easy and quick.
What is Subroutine?
Subroutines are similar to functions in other programming languages. We have already used some built-in functions like print, chomp, chop, etc. We can write our own subroutines in Perl. These subroutines can be written anywhere in the program; it is preferable to place the subroutines either at the beginning or at the end of the code.