The ProgrammingLanguage itself, as opposed to the interpreter perl, which is written a lowercase "p". (See the glossary.)

The Perl motto is "There's more than one way to do it." Divining how many more is left as an exercise to the reader.
-- perl(1) ManPage

Perl is designed to give you several ways to do anything, so consider picking the most readable one.
-- perlstyle(1) ManPage

The three principal virtues of a programmer are Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris. See the CamelBook for why.
-- perl(1) ManPage

Any ProgrammingLanguage that doesn't occasionally surprise the novice will pay for it by continually surprising the expert.
-- LarryWall

The name stands for Practical Extraction and Reporting Language but also Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister -- pick one, both are official, and both are backronyms.

See PerlOneLiners for one end of the spectrum of the language's application and PerlNotes for various tips.

Perl, the Practical Extraction and Report Language, was first released by LarryWall, a linguist and programmer, in 1987. Since then it has become the automation tool of choice for systems administrators and programmers around the world. It is a bytecode compiled general purpose programming language that aims to make work easy, but requires training and practice to use well, and allows for procedural, OO and functional programming styles. Text manipulation is a major strength of the language, in large part due to its RegularExpression syntax which has served as the base for many other RegularExpression engines. It shines at any kind of data munging due to very versatile and powerful data types that are seamlessly allocated, grown, shrunk and garbage collected as necessary. During the years, its community has built a huge library of freely usable modular extensions for almost any purpose imaginable, called CPAN. This combination of features makes it ideal for rapid development, testing and maintainance of most any type of application.

It is available for a bewildering number of platforms: virtually all known and current Unix derivatives are supported as are other systems like Windows, MacOS, VMS, MS-DOS, OS/2, QNX, BeOS, and the Amiga. Perl is now included in the default installs of Apple's MacOSX and Sun Solaris version 9.

Perl is most commonly associated with web programming, being the development tool of choice for many people serving dynamic, data driven web pages. Several methods are available for running Perl on the web, such as the ever-popular CGI and mod_perl, the enterprise-class application module. According to Security Space, mod_perl is deployed on over 1.6 million Apache web servers, a constantly-rising figure that does not include the millions of servers running Perl through CGI.

Sites making use of Perl include, Wired,, Alexa and the Internet Wayback machine, a hundred terabyte archive which is five times larger than the the Library of Congress.

CategoryProgrammingLanguages, CategoryVeryHighLevelProgrammingLanguages