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The Uses of Perl

written by: Brandy A Burgess•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/8/2010

Perl is a highly dynamic programming language used by millions of web developers and several popular websites. Many people may wonder 'what is Perl used for?' Here, you will find out more about Perl, and even learn some specific Perl capabilities.

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    What Is Perl Used For

    Perl is a general-purpose programming language that borrows features from various other programming languages such as C, sed, and shell scripting. What is Perl used for? Commonly, Perl is used to develop data analysis, web applications, text manipulation, batch processing, and command-line utilities; and these are just a few of the basic features. With the capability to run on Microsoft Windows, Linux, Apple, Unix, and many other operating systems, Perl is widely used for web development as well. Here, you will find a list of the most common uses of Perl and how it can benefit your web use.

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    Web Development

    Perl The most common use of Perl is for web development, or assistance in creating a web site for the World Wide Web. There are several frameworks in Perl that are widely used for web applications, such as: Titanium, Catalyst, Mojo and Jifty. Perl is a favored programming language by many web developers because it’s an open source language and Perl tools are free. Of course, Perl doesn’t come without any downsides. Perl is a difficult programming language to learn and it’s easy to create an insecure website. There are many popular web applications that are written in Perl such as Ticketmaster, LiveJournal and DreamWidth.

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    System Administration

    When Perl was first created in 1987, one of the original goals of the language was to merge and replace the various smaller tools on the Unix operating system. Today, many Unix and Linux systems depend on Perl to stay functional, run smoothly, and perform system management related tasks.

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    Test Automation

    Perl was designed to test any web application, regardless of the original programming language used to create the application. The test framework can be used to test networking devices, desktop applications, web applications, file systems, and databases among others.

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    Game Development

    Perl can be used in game development as a fast interpreted language because it can be embedded and use C to call non-Perl libraries. Game developers can use Perl to extend already existing games, or even create new games that require high performance. Perl can be used as a client, a server, or for graphics. The heavy amount of community support and extensive libraries make Perl a great choice for game development.

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    Desktop Application Development

    Although it's not as popular as the other languages in the field, Perl has left it's mark in desktop application development. There are three main tool kits in Perl that are used to write cross-platform desktop applications. These tool kits include wxPerl, Perl/Tk and Gtk2 Perl. Remedie is a popular media player that was written in Perl. This program is a desktop application that runs in browser.

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    Final Thoughts

    Perl has many uses, features, and tools that make it a popular and user-friendly programming language. While it may be difficult to learn Perl, the process is a rewarding experience that can offer many benefits during your many web development encounters.