Perl Babysteps

Getting Started With Perl

Added Jul 10, 2009 • Updated Aug 24, 2011

Let's admit it. Perl is everywhere. It powers most of the Internet, in one form or another. What? Your site doesn't use Perl and CGI? Well, what about the administrative scripts that keep it running smoothly when everyone is snug in their beds? Even a fair chunk of Microsoft IIS servers rely on Perl for administrative tasks. I'm not saying that Perl is being used on every site on the Internet, including yours. I'm saying that Perl is probably being used on any random site you happen to look at on the Internet, including yours.

Why not learn how to use it?

This series is intended to provide the non-programmer with a gentle introduction to the Perl programing language. When you are done with it, you should feel ready to learn more. You will not be an expert, but you will be able to find the information you need to go farther. Beginners and experts alike should feel free to send suggestions to me about how to improve this tutorial.

Perl is a rich language. There are many ways to use it, and many ways to learn it. My focus is on how a beginner can use the features of Perl 5.14 to create programs[1]. It is explicitly not a tutorial for people who need to maintain a big pile of legacy code that hides dragons and dark secrets, or for somebody who wants to whip out quick one-liners and scripts to accomplish amazing administrative tasks. See "Other Resources" below for some of my favorite books for different approaches to learning Perl.

[1] - even more specifically, how a beginner can use the features of Perl 5.14 to write the sort of code I would prefer to see people write. Hey. At least I'm honest.

The Series

  1. Getting Started: Installing Perl and writing your first script
  2. User Input: Getting user input from the command line

Other Resources