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Perl is an interpreted programming language. The form and syntax is based closely on C++, so if you know a little C++, you'll be able to pick up Perl in no time. There are a few differences though. There is no need to declare your variables as a certain type. You can store an integer in $var just as easily as a string, and Perl won't care in the slightest. Also, variables are always global unless declared otherwise. There is support for variably-sized arrays and regular expressions. Regular expressions (regex) is a standard format for searching. It is used in a lot of programming languages developed in the last few years as well as powerful text processing applications. Perl is most often used in web-based applications such as CGI (common gateway interface) or SSI (server-side includes). You can also use Perl as a stand-alone application as long as a Perl interpreter has been installed on your computer. Arguably, Perl has lost some of its luster to PHP which can be embedded in HTML files and includes many Internet-related features without the use of libraries.

CPAN Search Site This is a must for all Perl programmers. CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) has a collection of open source libraries for doing just about anything in Perl. Why reinvent the wheel?
Perl Built-In Functions There's a lot of advance Perl info at this site, but the list and explanations of Perl's built-in commands is a resource I use often.
Perl, Python, and PHP from Lots of step-by-step articles on how to implement specific applications in your Perl program and other languages. Subscribe to the newsletter, and you'll receive links to new and popular articles every week.
Teach Yourself CGI Programming with Perl 5 in a Week A free online book that you can also still find in print from Sams Publishing. This teaches you the basics of CGI and Perl at the same time. Some of the information about specific web servers and CGI is somewhat dated but is still relevant today. This book will probably take you more than a week to read and do all the examples, but is very well written and easy to understand. This book is best if you already know a little C++ or similarly formatted language.
Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days
A free online book that you can also still find in print from Sams Publishing. This teaches you everything you wanted to know about Perl. It starts out slow and then gets into the nitty-gritty by the end. This book is best if you are new to programming.
Web Basics with LWP LWP is the Perl library for retrieving web pages and other elements for processing in a Perl program. This is a nice tutorial on how to get started.

ActiveState is a commercial company that develops and provides a free Perl interpreter for Windows. This is the direct link that bypasses the request for contact information.
Crimson Editor
This is a high-powered version of Notepad. Not only can it edit text files, but also is an excellent tool for programming. Features include multiple document handling in a tabbed interface, syntax highlighting and indenting, advanced find and replace with regex support, and compiling and executing of source code.
This is my time calculation library. It was adapted from a C++ library I had written. Yes, there are libraries on CPAN that calculate time, but I think mine is a little easier to understand.

Last Updated January 27, 2006