Perl is a family of two high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. "Perl" refers to Perl 5, but from 2000 to 2019 it also referred to its redesigned "sister language", Perl 6, before the latter's name was officially changed to Raku in October 2019.

Though Perl is not officially an acronym, there are various backronyms in use, including "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language". Perl was developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. Raku, which began as a redesign of Perl 5 in 2000, eventually evolved into a separate language. Both languages continue to be developed independently by different development teams and liberally borrow ideas from each other.

What is Perl?

  1. Perl is a stable, cross platform programming language.

  2. Though Perl is not officially an acronym but few people used it as Practical Extraction and Report Language.

  3. It is used for mission critical projects in the public and private sectors.

  4. Perl is an Open Source software, licensed under its Artistic License, or the GNU General Public License (GPL).

  5. Perl was created by Larry Wall.

  6. Perl 1.0 was released to usenet's alt.comp.sources in 1987.

  7. At the time of writing this tutorial, the latest version of perl was 5.16.2.

  8. Perl is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Design and features of Perl

Perl includes popular Unix facilities, such as sed, awk and tr. As an interpreted language, code can run as is, and instructions are executed without first compiling the entire program into machine language instructions.

Here are additional Perl features:

  1. Glue language. As a glue code language, Perl makes it easier for programmers to integrate otherwise incompatible interfaces and components. It features a database integration interface that supports third-party databases, like MySQL, Oracle, Postgres and Sybase.
  2. Embedding. Perl can be embedded in database servers and web servers.
  3. Text processing. It includes powerful text processing tools that enable it to work with markup languages, like Hypertext Markup Language and Extensible Markup Language.


  1. Options. Users have a lot of alternatives in how they write a program or solve a problem using Perl.
  2. Flexible. The language's design and syntax let users code using their own programming style.
  3. Open source. Perl is free for anyone to access, develop and use on a variety of platforms.
  4. Availability. It is pre-installed in many places, and more than 25,000 Perl modules are available on the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. It is also implemented on most operating systems.

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