Browse Definitions:
Definition

Perl

Contributor(s): Jon Lenzer, Trea Lavery

Perl is a family of script programming languages that are similar in syntax to the C language, including Perl 5 and Perl 6. Perl is an open source, general-use, interpreted language.

In general, Perl is easier to learn and faster to code in than the more structured C and C++ languages. Perl programs can, however, be quite sophisticated. It is often used for developing common gateway interface (CGI) programs because it has good text manipulation facilities, although it also handles binary files.

Perl includes a number of popular UNIX facilities such as sed, awk, and tr. It can be compiled just before execution into either C code or cross-platform bytecode. When compiled, a Perl program is almost as fast as a fully precompiled C language program. A plug-in can be installed for some servers, such as Apache, so that Perl is loaded permanently in memory, thus reducing compile time and resulting in faster execution of CGI Perl scripts.

The first version of Perl was created in 1987 by programmer Larry Wall. The name was originally said to stand for "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language," but that name is no longer used. Wall prefers the usage of an upper-case "Perl" for the language itself and lower-case "perl" for any interpreter or compiler of Perl.

As of May 2017, Perl is in its fifth release, Perl 5, which was first made available in 1994. The current version is 5.24, released in May 2016.

Perl 6, while stemming from the same ancestor language, is a completely separate programming language from Perl 5, and is developed by a separate organization. The project began after the 2000 Perl Conference, but the first official version of the language, version 6.c, was not made available until December 2015.

This was last updated in May 2017

Continue Reading About Perl

Join the conversation

3 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Do you use Perl in programming? What is your opinion of the language?
Cancel
Perl is my goto for big, complex text file analysis, for extracting row and column subsets from very large text files, and for other data handling tasks involving regex more complex than SQL can comfortably handle.  A big piece of my job is determining suitability of external data sources, and Perl scripts that detect things like varying seperator counts, out-of-band characters, and other multirow anomalies have been part of my toolbox for a long time.
Cancel

Whups, forgot to state my opinion: Perl is a fast, familiar, and reliable part of my toolbox.  I know others that use R or Python instead, but for me Perl fills that role admirably.  Programming is a minor part of my overall job, so getting what I need done with a known tool and known, tested scripts is a big plus.

The reliable part?  Within the last 2 years I had started to use R a bit more, had in fact written a SQL Server interface that allowed me to use some of R's great libraries, and then had that interface break because a key package had been updated without keeping backward compatibility.  That has never happened to me with Perl, and I have 15 year old scripts I still use.  YMMV, but I don't use R anymore.

Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • computer exploit

    A computer exploit, or exploit, is an attack on a computer system, especially one that takes advantage of a particular ...

  • cyberwarfare

    Cyberwarfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another ...

  • insider threat

    Insider threat is a generic term for a threat to an organization's security or data that comes from within.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder)

    OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) is open source software designed to create and manage a service that provides persistent data ...

  • SATA Express (SATAe)

    SATA Express (SATAe or Serial ATA Express) is a bus interface to connect storage devices to a computer motherboard, supporting ...

  • DIMM (dual in-line memory module)

    A DIMM (dual in-line memory module) is the standard memory card used in servers and PCs.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid flash array

    A hybrid flash array is a solid-state storage system that contains a mix of flash memory drives and hard disk drives.

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close